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Balanced Diet For Pregnant Women

Research has shown that the pregnant mother’s diet majorly affects the physical, emotional, and intellectual well-being of her children. For healthy women, increase in the intake of low fat, high protein and fiber rich diet is mandatory during pregnancy. This means they need to eat a lot of poultry, fish and fat-less meat, apart from the paramount green vegetables. Additionally, they also need to include calcium in their diet.

Balanced Diet For Pregnant Women

Diet of Normal Pregnant Women

The diet of pregnant women also varies as per the stages of their pregnancy.

First Trimester Diet

In the first three months pregnant women are advised to eat smaller portions, but more frequently, to offset the nauseous feelings that are common at this stage. Increasing the intake of porridge, oatcakes, plain biscuits and crisp breads would help in countering nausea. Potatoes and rice are also not bad at this stage provided they are taken in limited quantities. Green vegetables that help during this stage include green peas, spinach, cabbage, broccoli, kale, okra and other spring greens. Sprouts such as brussels sprouts are low fat and high in protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals, making them an ideal food for this stage. It is necessary to include folic acid during this phase because it plays an important role in the baby’s growth. Pulses, lentils and beans all are welcome. Fruits such as bananas, oranges, strawberries and grapefruits provide required vitamins and glucose, reducing the nausea simultaneously.

Second Trimester Diet

In the second stage, nuts and fluids are added to the above diet. So are lamb steaks and chicken to provide sufficient protein.

Third Trimester Diet

The third stage of pregnancy requires the lady to consume as much as 300 calories more than her daily healthy diet. Vitamin D is crucial at this stage. There are cereals and margarine that come fortified with this vitamin.

There are dietary exclusions as well such as alcohol, caffeine, papaya, pineapple, half boiled eggs, raw eggs, under-cooked or raw fish, meat, shellfishes, liver products, etc. Coffee may be consumed, but only in limited quantities.

What if the Pregnant Lady is Diabetic?

The difference between diabetic pregnancy and healthy pregnancy is obvious. Blood glucose level in ladies with, what is referred to as, gestational diabetes is higher primarily because insulin levels are lower due to one or more factors. Usually, this happens because hormones released in the body during pregnancy block insulin from being available in sufficient quantities. To some extent, it is prevalent among all ladies but the level of blood glucose is considerably higher in pregnant ladies with diabetes. However, there are other factors that can lead to risk of diabetes during pregnancy such as high blood pressure, presence of excessive amniotic fluid, etc.

Diabetic pregnancy symptoms are very subtle and can be easily overlooked. Loss of weight or inability to gain weight during pregnancy is one of the most reliable symptoms for identification of this condition. Other indications include increased hunger, thirst and urine frequency. The lady feels nauseous and tired. Infections of the skin, vagina and bladder are not uncommon. Blurring of vision is another symptom seen in diabetic pregnant ladies.

Balanced Diet For Pregnant Women

Diabetic pregnancy risks include the risk to the life of the baby. But this risk is rare and becomes a possibility only if no attention is paid to the condition. Baby of such a mother may exhibit low blood pressure. For ladies with gestational diabetes, the sugar levels may return to normal after the delivery. However, in about 10 to 12 years, they might become diabetic. Unlike such gestational diabetes, type 1 diabetic pregnancy makes the lady diabetic immediately.

If a pregnant lady has mild retinopathy, this may aggravate. A lot of research is being done on diabetic retinopathy pregnancy to understand why this happens and how to cure and/or prevent it.

One of the more common diabetic pregnancy complications arises due to the size of the baby. The baby in such cases tends to be slightly larger, because of which, delivery may have to be made by c-section to ensure that the baby does not suffer from injuries at the time of birth.

It is necessary to diagnose the condition at the right time to avoid such grave complications. But unlike type 1 diabetes in pregnancy, the difference in blood glucose levels is not obvious in the beginning. It is only around 24th to 28th week that the difference becomes obvious. Diabetic pregnancy test used for such diagnosis is an oral test called glucose tolerance test.

How to Control Blood Glucose Levels?

Exercise         

One way to reduce the blood glucose level is to do some exercises. Another way is to monitor the food intake. A combination of both methods is ideal for gestational diabetes.

Pregnancy Diet for Diabetics

This entails foods with added sugars such as cool fruit drinks and shakes not forming a part of diabetic pregnancy diet. The pregnant lady gets required glucose from fresh fruits instead. In addition to fruits, there are other starchy carbohydrates which also become a source of energy, but are not as easily converted into glucose as table sugar or even honey. Rest of the diet is pretty much the same as that of the other pregnant ladies. If, however, the diabetic pregnancy meal plan fails or does not result in lowering glucose level in blood and urine to the acceptable range, then the lady may have to take insulin injections or other medicines for treating diabetes.

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