Dr. Manish Kaushal

Thyroid, Breast, Endocrine & Cancer Surgeon

Dr. Manila Kaushal

Obstetrician, Gynecologist & Laparoscopic Surgeon

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Diet During Pregnancy

You don't need to go on a special diet, but it's important to eat a variety of different foods every day to get the right balance of nutrients that you and your baby need. You will probably find that you are more hungry than usual, but you don't need to 'eat for two' – even if you are expecting twins or triplets. All you need is 300 more calories in the second half of pregnancy and 500 more calories when you are breastfeeding.

Pregnant women are often advised to eat frequently and in small portions in order to keep their blood sugar levels nearly constant. The same advice is true for diabetic women as well.

Try and have 3 main meals and three snacks in a day to give you constant supply of energy. Avoid overindulging in cereals like wheat and rice as these result in a high sugar surge followed by a sudden drop, making you lethargic and low in energy.

Include as many fresh, raw and colored fruits and vegetables in your diet as possible and you would not go deficient in any nutrient.

Avoid eating raw salads(unless at home where you are sure that the veggies have been washed nicely), uncooked meat like grilled stuff from outside, which could have remained partially cooked at the core and may cause infection. In parties it is better to consume the fried stuff instead which ensures that all the germs have been killed.

Pregnancy slows down the digestion, so eat your dinner early. Have 2-3 hours gap before dinner and sleep. If you feel hungry at bed time, you can take a glass of milk or a small snack. Avoid  to carry out fasts during pregnancy which is not good for health and Do not eat left over, frozen & deep-frozen food.

Stay physically active and do not overstuff yourself. It is OK to have all the stuff your mom lovingly prepares for you; but mind the portion size. After all you are going to be pregnant only once or twice in your life…

If your bowel habits get sluggish, you don't have to rush out to buy a laxative. Most people don't need them for mild constipation. Instead, look at your diet. One  must avoid peas and other `heavy to digest' cereals, potato. They must take green gram as it is easy to digest and gives protein.

Five high fiber foods to keep constipation away:

Daliya :It  has traditionally been included in daily Indian breakfast. One should take care to cook the natural oats and not the instant processed one which contains lesser fiber  Add diced fruits like apple, cheeku, strawberries etc instead of white sugar to boost its effectiveness.

Fresh fruits : Almost all fruits are rich in fiber. Black grapes, banana, ripe mangostrawberries and pear contain the maximum amount of fiber  Apple is also a rich source if eaten with the skin on. If its skin is peeled, a large amount of fiber is lost.

Sprouts : Have your lentils, sprouted for easier digestion and to improve its fiber content. Add small amount of sprouts in your salad, chaats and snacks to improve its fiber content

Vegetables : Vegetables like Cabbage, Cauli-flower & all long green vegetables such as Tondali, Turai, Louki, Parwal, Spinach, methi and peas are very rich sources of fiber  Include them in your salads, soups, stuffed parantha,  pizza, omelette etc and for best value, try not to overcook them.

Dry fruits : Dry fruits like dates, raisins, figs (anjeer), dried prunes etc are very rich sources of fiber  A handful of them taken every day will regulate bowel movements especially in pregnant women where constipation is common. They should be cleaned nicely before consumption by soaking them for sometime in clean water. These can then be diced and sprinkled over salads or included in snacks.

Exercise in pregnancy

For most women, it is important to do some regular physical activity during pregnancy as part of living a healthy lifestyle. In most cases, moderate physical activity during pregnancy is safe and can have benefits for both you and your baby and should not harm either of you. However, you do need to be sensible about what type of physical activity you do. You should aim to do a mixture of both aerobic physical activity (activity which raises the heart rate) and muscle-strengthening physical activity. In general, at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day is recommended.

Benefits are :

Help you keep a healthy weight during and after your pregnancy.

Help you to sleep better and feel less tired.

Reduce your chances of developing varicose veins.

Reduce the likelihood of swelling of your feet, ankles or hands.

Reduce the chance and severity of anxiety or depression.

Help prevent back pain.

Reduce the risk of developing diabetes during your pregnancy (gestational diabetes). In women who do develop diabetes during their pregnancy, regular physical activity may help to improve the control of their diabetes.

Reduce the risk of problems with high blood pressure during your pregnancy.

Perhaps, shorten labour and make problems or complications less less likely during the delivery of your baby. It can make the baby more resilient during the birth process.

Pelvic floor exercises are also important during pregnancy and are advised for all pregnant women. They can help to strengthen the muscles of your pelvic floor, which can come under strain whilst you are pregnant, and especially during labor.

Walking is a very good physical activity whilst you are pregnant. Swimming is also good. Session with physiotherapist specifically aimed at pregnant women run in many areas or we can provide you addresses. If you are doing another exercise class that is not dedicated to pregnant women, do let your instructor know that you are pregnant. Also, you should always remember to warm up and cool down at the beginning and end of each session.

Try to build physical activity into part of your everyday life. Take the stairs and not the lift at work or in the shopping centre. Take a brisk walk at lunchtime. Try not to sit for long periods in front of the television or in front of a computer. Walk instead of driving to the shops, etc

If you are someone who has not been very physically active before pregnancy, you should not just suddenly start an intensive physical activity program. Start with 15 minutes of physical activity three times a week. You can then increase this gradually to 30-minute sessions four times a week and then to 30 minutes every day.

You should stop exercising and seek urgent medical attention if you develop:

Excessive shortness of breath.

Chest pain or a thumping heart (palpitations).

Dizziness or feeling faint.

Excessive tiredness.

Tummy (abdominal), pelvic or back pain.

Feelings of muscle weakness.

Calf pain or swelling.

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