Pregnancy is a nine-month-long rollercoaster ride full of changes, physical and emotional; anticipation and excitement. However, for some women, it can also be not so enjoyable due to fear of unknown and doubts. Due to some factors and underlying conditions, doctors label certain pregnancies as high-risk pregnancies. Factors such as a very young age or older age pregnancy; medical conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes; obesity and poor lifestyle choices can put a pregnancy in the high-risk category. This means that the mother and her baby are more prone to developing complications during pregnancy or childbirth than a low risk woman.
About 20-30% of pregnancies belong to the high-risk category in India. Early detection, precautions, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and diet; and a regular ante natal-care can help in reducing adverse maternal and foetal outcomes. Nutrition plays an important part in preventing the complications of a high-risk pregnancy in mothers and their babies. Soon-to-be mothers can include the following nutrients in their diet as they navigate a high-risk pregnancy.
Nutrients Diet During a High-Risk Pregnancy
Whole grains are a rich source of minerals, fibres and Vitamin B, which are essential for foetal development. Women should avoid refined grains like maida found in white bread, junk food, and processed desserts during a pregnancy. Instead, they can eat wheat flour, barley, oats, jowar and brown rice that are rife with minerals and fibres. These whole grains are also extremely beneficial in reducing the risk of constipation and haemorrhoids during pregnancy.
Proteins are essential for the growth and development of the baby. A low protein intake during pregnancy can cause protein deficiency and hamper foetal development. It is necessary to consume proteins in the right amount during pregnancy from natural and healthy sources of protein like eggs, soybeans, lentils, lean meats, chickpea, unsalted nuts and seeds in their regular diet.
Dairy food items like milk, yoghurt and cottage cheese are rich in calcium which helps in building the baby’s bones and teeth. Consuming calcium can also reduce the risk of preeclampsia, a condition that causes a sudden increase in blood pressure. Pregnant women should opt for low-fat and low-sugar dairy products. Those with milk or dairy allergy can choose dairy alternatives like soya milk and yoghurt that are unsweetened and calcium-fortified.
Carbohydrates (Starchy Food)
Carbohydrates or starchy foods are a rich source of energy, vitamins and fibre. Consuming starchy foods also helps pregnant women feel full without containing too many calories. Potatoes, breakfast cereals, bread, rice, maize, millet, yams, and cornmeal are great sources of carbohydrates. During a high-risk pregnancy, women must keep in mind to opt for high-fibre, low-fat, low-sugar and low-salt starchy foods such as whole-wheat bread, brown rice and potatoes with skin.
Also, Read: Nutritious Diet During High-risk Pregnancy
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Pregnant women must eat fresh fruits and vegetables every day for the whole term of their pregnancy. Packed with vitamins, minerals and fibres, they are great for digestion, hydration and preventing constipation. Fresh veggies are rich in Vitamin A, B complex, C, D and E, which are vital for the baby’s growth. Fruits like oranges, gooseberry, etc., help in maintaining immunity and absorbing iron in the body. Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, broccoli and turnip greens are loaded with folic acid, which helps in preventing certain congenital disabilities. Pregnant women must make sure to include a variety of fresh fruits and veggies on their plates.
The term ‘high-risk pregnancy’ can cause great vexation and discomfort to pregnant women, but there are plenty of ways to reduce the risk and have a happy and healthy child. The significance of eating healthy during a high-risk pregnancy cannot be stressed enough. By taking care of their everyday diet, women can mitigate and manage the risks and complications of their pregnancy. To ensure a smooth pregnancy, soon-to-be mothers should pay great attention to what’s at the end of their fork. Whole-grain foods, proteins, dairy products and fresh fruits and vegetables should become an essential part of their daily diet. Besides a healthy diet, they should also consume prenatal vitamins, exercise regularly, avoid alcohol, tobacco, and nicotine and go for regular checkups.
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