Thanks for your query at DoctorSpring.com.
Congratulations on your pregnancy and impending parenthood! I would be glad to guide you regarding the diet during pregnancy.
Women with a purely vegetarian diet need to be extra vigilant to ensure that they are getting all the requirements from their diet.
The first concern is protein - cow's milk, soy milk, whole grains, beans, dal , cheese, paneer, tofu, yoghurt , and of course egg, are excellent sources.
Make sure you have 3 - 4 big helpings of these daily.
Omega 3 and DHA are important for brain development of the baby, and mainly found in fish, so good substitutes are flax seeds, walnuts, green leafy vegetables , kidney beans, cauliflower, brocooli, papaya. You should also consider taking DHA supplements ( often found alongwith folic acid ) as the vegetarian sources are not that rich as fish is .
Further recommendations for your diet are -
- Atleast four servings of beans, peas, green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds - they are rich in iron, zinc and protein.
- Four big servings of calcium containing foods - milk, soy milk, curd, paneer, tofu, bananas . Also consider taking vitamin D supplements as most women during pregnancy are deficient in vitamin D. Also iron and calcium tablets should be taken from the fifth month onwards, and continued during lactation also.
- 8 - 10 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables ( rich in antioxidants ) - avoid fruit juices, instead stick to whole fruits as they provide fibre content essential for avoiding constipation. Consume all seasonal fruits, and that includes figs, as none are contraindicated, and a variety of foods will provide variety of nutrition, and expose the growing baby to all kinds of tastes also.
- 6 - 11 servings of whole grains - whole wheat, bajra, ragi, brown rice, oats etc.
In addition, eat fresh , home cooked food and avoid eating or buying foodstuffs from outside.
Instead of 2 - 3 major meals, break up your food intake into 6 small meals a day.
Have lots of fluids such as plain water, buttermilk, soups, coconut water etc.
Start off with a heavy breakfast , and have a light dinner well before you sleep, to avoid acidity and indigestion.
All the best, please feel free to ask further follow up questions.