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The Ultimate Diet Guide for 9 Months of Pregnancy!

Starting your pregnancy journey is super exciting and full of things to look forward to, especially getting ready for your little one's arrival. One of the biggest things to think about is eating right because what you eat plays a huge part in keeping both you and your baby healthy.

We had a chat with Aastha Grover, who knows a ton about food and health for pregnant moms. Aastha has been helping moms-to-be for over five years, both in hospitals and one-on-one, and she's got loads of helpful info to share.

Aastha tells us that it's really important to know what to eat and why. "It's all about giving your baby the right stuff to grow and keeping yourself healthy," she explains. She talks about eating a mix of good foods like fruits, veggies, grains, lean meats, and dairy to make sure you and your baby get all the vitamins and minerals you need.

She points out some super important nutrients like folic acid, calcium, iron, and omega-3s, and tells us why they're so important for your baby's growth and how they help your body handle pregnancy better. Aastha's main tips are to choose foods that pack a nutritional punch, listen to what your body needs, and think of every meal as a step towards a happy, healthy pregnancy. She's also got some easy tips to help plan your meals during pregnancy!

In conversation with Expert Aastha Grover let’s find out what moms need to include in their diets in pregnancy!

First Trimester diet for a healthy pregnancy:

Months 1-3: The early stages of pregnancy are all about laying a healthy foundation for your baby. Focus on foods rich in folic acid, such as leafy greens, legumes, and fortified cereals, to support brain and spinal cord development. Hydration is also key, so keep water and healthy fluids like coconut water close at hand.

diet in first trimester
  • Incorporate Ginger: To help with morning sickness, try adding ginger to your diet, either in teas, soups, or even ginger candies.
  • Small, Frequent Meals: Combat nausea and maintain energy levels with smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day.
  • High-Folate Foods: Beyond leafy greens and legumes, include avocado and citrus fruits to boost your folate intake, crucial for preventing neural tube defects.

Second Trimester Diet for Healthy Growth:

Months 4-6: As your baby starts to grow, so does your need for calories—but not too many! Aim for a balanced increase in proteins and calcium-rich foods. Think lean meats, tofu, beans, and dairy. Iron is also crucial during this phase to prevent anaemia, so include iron-rich foods like spinach, lentils, and iron-fortified cereals in your diet.

diet in second trimester
  • Lean Protein: Increase your intake of lean protein sources like chicken, fish (low in mercury), paneer, and legumes to support the baby's growth. Have a cup of dal everyday especially toor, moong and chana dal! 
  • Complex Carbohydrates: Opt for whole grains like , sweet potato, and brown rice. These provide sustained energy and are packed with fiber, helping with any digestive issues.
  • Have whole wheat (used in roti and chapati) and a variety of millets such as bajra (pearl millet), ragi (finger millet), and jowar (sorghum).
  • Eat vegetables like yams and green peas, and fruits such as apples and pears with their skins. 

  • Stay Hydrated with a Twist: Infuse your water with fruit or cucumber for a refreshing twist, encouraging you to stay hydrated.

Third Trimester diet for Preparing for Birth:

Months 7-9: Your baby is getting ready to meet the world, and your body is preparing for labor. This trimester, focus on omega-3 fatty acids to support brain development. Foods like salmon, walnuts, and chia seeds are great options. Also, continue to emphasize iron and calcium to support your growing needs and those of your baby.

diet in 3rd trimester
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: If fish isn't appealing, look to flaxseeds, walnuts, or omega-3 fortified eggs to get your essential fatty acids, important for your baby's brain development.
  • Magnesium-Rich Foods: Foods like almonds, spinach, and black beans can help with sleep issues and muscle cramps, which are common in the third trimester.
  • Easy Iron Absorption: Combine iron-rich foods with vitamin C sources (like strawberries or bell peppers) to enhance iron absorption, critical as your blood volume increases.

Some easy recipes which are very healthy to be eaten in third trimester are Palak Paneer, Ragi Roti, Masoor Dal with Spinach, Vegetable Khichdi, Oats Idli, Moong Dal and Spinach Soup, Almond and Date Laddoo, Chickpea curry, Dalia Khichdi, Beetroot and Carrot Salad.

Since pregnancy diet comes with so many do’s and don'ts we also asked Aastha to debunk some myths vs Facts.

Here are the 5 common myths about pregnancy nutrition!

Myth 1: Eating for Two Means Doubling Your Food Intake 

Fact: While it's true you're eating for two, it doesn't mean you need twice as many calories. The extra caloric need in pregnancy is about 300-500 calories a day in the second and third trimesters, which is often much less than what people think. It's more about focusing on nutrient-dense foods rather than significantly increasing quantity.

Myth 2: You Can't Eat Seafood During Pregnancy 

Fact: Seafood is a great source of essential omega-3 fatty acids and protein, which are crucial for fetal brain development. The key is to choose low-mercury fish like salmon, trout, and sardines, and avoid high-mercury fish like shark, swordfish, and mackerel. It's safe to consume 2-3 servings of low-mercury fish per week.

Myth 3: You Shouldn't Have Caffeine at All in pregnancy 

Fact: Moderate caffeine intake, defined as 200-300 mg per day (about 2-3 cups of coffee), is generally considered safe during pregnancy. However, caffeine sensitivity can vary, and it's also found in tea, chocolate, and some sodas, so be mindful of your total intake.

Myth 4: Cheese is not safe in Pregnancy 

Fact: Not all cheeses are problematic in pregnancy. It's recommended to avoid unpasteurized cheeses due to the risk of listeriosis, a foodborne illness that's particularly dangerous during pregnancy. Pasteurised cheeses, including hard cheeses, mozzarella, cheddar, and cottage cheese, are safe to consume. 

Myth 5: Cravings Indicate Nutritional Deficiencies 

Fact: While it's a popular belief, cravings during pregnancy are more likely due to hormonal changes rather than direct signals of nutritional deficiency. While craving non-food items (a condition known as pica) can indicate a deficiency, most cravings are not directly linked to nutrient needs. She also debunks the myth that craving sweet/salty food are linked with baby gender! 

In Conclusion

Aastha’s friendly and practical tips make nutrition during pregnancy seem less daunting and more like an enjoyable part of the journey. Aastha's guidance is a reminder that taking care of yourself is the first step in taking care of your baby, making her advice not just useful but essential for pregnant moms looking to nurture their pregnancy journey with love, care, and a pinch of nutritional wisdom.

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Watch our insightful video with Dr. Harsha who shares invaluable insights on C-section recovery based on her expertise and personal experiences. 

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