When celebrating the New Years Eve with the family my grandmother reacted pretty awkwardly. While the pineapple cake was being served to our aunt who is in her first trimester…we heard a big NO! She won’t eat that! And my poor aunt followed with a silent nod. Sad? Well it turns out Nani Jaan was right at some point…
Hence, talking about the pregnancy food…here are a few Do’s and Don’ts!
What not to eat during pregnancy?
Craving junk food and sodas… Or wanting to starve the remaining days?
Certain fruits like Pineapples available in cans and open fruits stalls on road sides and Papayas (pappita) should be avoided during early pregnancy. It is known that unripe papayas have a heating effect and are rich in latex which possibly triggers the uterine contractions. Similarly, Pineapple, if taken in excessive quantities tends to soften the cervix inducing early labor. Egg plant (baingan) is also known to cause menstruation and hence a heavy consumption of egg plants during early pregnancy is contraindicated. It is also important that food hygiene is kept in mind before you intake raw fruits and vegetables. Especially the greens should be washed thoroughly…
Herbal tea or what we call Garam Masala Chai and coffee also have a heating effect and should be taken in moderate quantities as pregnancy food. Sodas are known for their damaging effects but pregnant women usually crave for them. It is fine to take them in limited quantities but better to replace them with juices or at least the blacks with whites. Raw and under cooked food should be avoided to protect you and your baby from harmful bacteria.
What to eat during pregnancy?
For you and your child’s benefit it is important that you keep a check on the intake of these essential nutrients and minerals…
Foods including green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, beans and lentils and nuts like almonds contain good amounts of vitamins and folic acid which is very important for baby growth and easily available in Pakistani markets. Eggs, fresh meats, fish and liver are a good source of protein and iron for women who suffer from deficiencies. More fluids and especially milk should be consumed on regular basis along with the intake of other dairy products. There are women who are lactose intolerant and feel sick after consuming milk, some can handle yogurt and cheese and others can use almonds and calcium supplements to balance their diets. Calcium intake is very important during pregnancy for your baby’s bones and after pregnancy for breastfeeding your child and should always be a part of your pregnancy food list.
High fiber foods should also be a part of the pregnancy diet to avoid constipation and indigestion. This is a myth that coconuts and coconut water give the baby a fairer skin, but it is proved healthy for fetal growth, good for digestion and preventing dehydration. The continuous consumption of vitamins, minerals, proteins and fats during pregnancy also contribute to the reserves that can be used after pregnancy for breast milk production.
In Pakistani families pregnant women are usually fed the meals of two which are loaded with butter and ghee as pregnancy food. Overeating during pregnancy causes heartburn, it can affect the baby’s health and also a major cause of Cesarean delivery for the mother. Hence it is important that you keep a check on how much you are loading your pregnant bellies along with what you eat.