Food guide for pregnant women: Dos and Don’ts

Taimur Ali Khan’s birth made many mommies-to-be curious about how he came into this world on time. Not only that, Mommy Kareena Kapoordaunting a glowing look all through her pregnancy, not following the age old tradition of staying at home, being lazy and eating tons of everything, added to her panache of breaking Indian stereotypes.

Becoming a mother not only brings happiness but also curiosity of finding out what is best for the new growing human inside you. Whether it is stuffing your tummy with ghee or avoiding the yummy papaya, too many myths have been doing rounds since time immemorial.

Scrolling numerous sites, Ankita Shukla, a fashion editor and mommy-to-be, was exhausted with what to follow, “There is so much information available on the net that you end up being confused. There are so many theories on what to eat and what to do.”

Similarly, Taruna Arun, a working professional and now an expecting mother from London, talks about the old wives’ tales of her country, “I have been told to avoid nuts and restrict my caffeine intake to only 2 cups a day.” On the contrary, Ankita has been advised to cut down on caffeine intake to 1 cup by her gynecologist in India.

These philosophies on pregnancy foods include, not eating raw meats, eating less fish and sticking to a lot of vegetables. The question mark on fruits has sustained over a period of time, with enzyme producing fruits like papaya and pineapple being under constant scrutiny. Dry fruits are also a part of this category with many health practitioners arguing whether these should be included in an expecting mother’s diet plan.
Moulded and soft cheeses, however, are a big no the world over.

While many online portals submit information from different continents all together, a single solution on what foods need to be consumed by the mother is still a huge question mark.

“Pregnant women should look out for food sensitivity. Avoid having microwaved food or ready-to-eats,” says leading clinical nutritionist Ishi Khosla. While she argues that no scientific data proves any harm from pineapple or papaya to a pregnantwoman. She also reinforces the fact that fresh food needs to be consumed by expecting mothers. She also mentions that soaked nuts are easier for digestion.

Rujuta Diwaker, nutritionist and author, in her book ‘Women and the weight loss tamasha’ talks about sticking to your local produce and doing the same activities that you have been doing all along. Her book also mentions the need for frequent healthy meals.

“Aerated drinks need to be avoided as the phosphorus in them will take out calcium from your body. This is of prime importance for an expecting mother,” says Dr. Loveleena Nadir, a leading Delhi-based senior gynecologist. Dr. Nadir also talks about the dangers of consumption of raw papaya, which is high in papain enzyme.

According to Dr. Nadir, an increase of 12-14 kgs of weight during pregnancy is considered to be healthy. More than this may lead to hypertension and diabetes during pregnancy. She further mentions that alcohol is completely off the list as there is no limit to it.

So hogging on frequent unhealthy meals like chocolates and burgers because your ‘baby needs it’ should be completely off the hook. Consulting your gynecologist and nutritionist is the best way to go about these foods as every pregnancy is different.