When the child starts to develop in the body of the mother in the shape of an embryo or foetus it requires all nutrients which are necessary for development of any person. Nature has made arrangement for supply of necessary inputs to the developing child from the body of the mother. Even if the mother is not consuming adequate quantity of necessary vitamins or calcium the foetus will continue to absorb them from the mother to the extent possible, making her deficient.
From this it is evident that the mother should get necessary nourishment. At the time of first visit to the doctor for prenatal check up the doctor prescribes medicines containing vital elements like multi vitamins, calcium and micro nutrients. These are to ensure that the pregnancy and consequent delivery is safe and smooth.
A pregnant woman requires about 300 extra calories as compared to when she was not pregnant. It is better if this comes to her through food and not through pills. This is why gynaecologists recommend increased consumption of green vegetables, fruits and milk and that too at short intervals. The purpose is to make available uninterrupted supply of inputs to the uterus. Let us now discuss the sources of natural nutrients for a pregnant lady.
Dairy products are a rich source of calcium and vitamin D. Calcium is necessary for healthy development of bones. A quart of milk is sufficient to provide necessary calcium. If the woman does not like to drink milk it can be substituted with yogurt, cheese or milk powder. For better absorption of calcium vitamin D is helpful. About 20 minutes of exposure to sunlight is a must.
Proteins are also necessary inputs for body. Those who are non vegetarian can meet the requirement of proteins from meat, eggs, fish, chicken etc. which are a rich source of proteins. For vegetarians, cheese, cereals and nuts are good substitutes.
Fruits and vegetables are a rich source of all vital elements necessary for both mother and child. Yellow or red vegetables are a rich source of vitamin A. Green leafy vegetables are a must for every human. These are a rich source of iron and contain lots of micro nutrients and above all fibre necessary for smooth digestive system. It is better if the pregnant woman is given lots of raw green vegetables as salad.
Care should be taken to give her whole wheat bread, un-milled cereals or brown rice instead of refined and polished products. These will give adequate quantity of fibre and energy. Fat is also essential but in limited quantity. Fat found in natural foods should be sufficient for the healthy development of the child. As far as possible excessive fat should be avoided as it may increase blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides.