During Pregnancy

During Pregnancy- Precautions and Care during Pregnancy: Pregnancy is a phase in a woman's life during which multiple hormonal changes take place. Changes in hormone levels during pregnancy can generate a wide range of changes. Mood swings, food cravings, heartburn, swollen feet, morning sickness, sleeping a lot, weight gain, spotting and constipation are just a few of the changes. During pregnancy, you'll probably get advice from everybody. But staying healthy depends on you. Read about the ways to keep you and your baby healthy during pregnancy.

When a woman becomes pregnant, she undergoes a lot of changes in terms of physical, emotional and mental health. Her body grows with the growth of the baby inside her but there are several other changes that go unnoticed. Dr. Manjula S. Patil, Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospitals, HRBR, Bangalore tells that mental health problems in pregnant women are on the rise. Stress, anxiety, nervousness, unpreparedness, etc. are some factors that affect a woman psychologically. Besides, weight gain during pregnancy is another issue that brings down the morale of the lady. Having said that, this section is all about the gestational period. From what to eat during pregnancy to how to exercise during pregnancy to common pregnancy problems, everything is explained. Scroll down to read.

Diet during pregnancy

“Eat whatever you feel like or crave during pregnancy”, you must have heard this from almost everyone you meet but is this right? Well, it is okay to satiate your cravings until and unless you are meeting the nutritional requirements that your body needs during pregnancy. These help in promoting optimal growth of the baby in the womb while securing well-being of the mother. Almost every nutrient is important but there are certain nutrients that are a must for a pregnant woman. You must consume foods that are high in vitamins, minerals and other nutrients for safe gestation and healthy delivery. Here are some nutrients that should be included in a pregnant woman’s diet.

Iron: This mineral is very important for women but during pregnancy, the mother needs to consume more iron as it promotes blood generation that is necessary to supply oxygen to the baby.

Iodine: This is important to boost the nervous system and brain development of the baby. 290 micrograms of iodine a day are the advised value.

Folic acid: To prevent birth defects in the child, consuming folic acid daily is very important.

Calcium: This mineral is not just good for bones but also for teeth and muscles. As you progress in pregnancy, you need to have a stronger core that calcium would provide.

Vitamin D: Calcium would get fully absorbed in the body if you take vitamin D along. Besides, it is also great for immunity to prevent infections.

DHA omega-3 fatty acid: This is necessary for the eye and brain development of the baby.

Foods To Eat

Here is the list of foods to eat during pregnancy:

  • Lean Meat
  • Lentils
  • Yogurt
  • Avocado
  • Salmon
  • Soybeans
  • Nuts
  • Carrots
  • Mangoes
  • Eggs
  • Kale
  • Oats
  • Bananas
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Quinoa

Foods to avoid

  • Raw eggs
  • Raw seafood
  • Raw sprouts
  • Unpasteurized juice
  • Unpasteurized cheese
  • Deli meats
  • High-mercury fishes
  • Alcohol

Dos and Don'ts

Pregnant women need to be cautious about everything when they are expecting. Here are some dos and don’ts that are necessary to be followed during pregnancy.

Do take vitamin D and folic acid- These two are necessary not only for the mother’s health but also for optimal growth of the baby inside the mother’s womb. What a mother eats reaches the child and so, taking these vitamins and minerals is a must.

Do stay active- If you wish to have a smooth gestation and vaginal birth, stay active. Besides, a sedentary lifestyle also increases the risk of weight gain that would get hard to lose after delivery. Also, the risk of gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, breathlessness and gestational hypertension also increases with an inactive lifestyle.

Do eat only fresh- Eating stale or rotten food can cause food poisoning and other infections during pregnancy. This is why doctors advise expecting mothers to consume only fresh food and avoid packaged food.

Do take ample sleep- Take proper rest and give yourself a restful night’s sleep. Also, you must start sleeping on the side as you enter the third trimester. This is for the safe birth of the baby as sleeping on the back is associated with the risk of stillbirth.

Do travel before 37 weeks- One is allowed to travel up to 37 weeks of pregnancy only. This is because it can be tiring, uncomfortable and risky. The chances of labour pain during a flight are also high if you are in your third trimester. Thus, travel in your second trimester only for your and your baby’s safety.

Don’t ‘eat for two’- This is a myth that you need to eat for two people. This would only make you fatter and won’t provide any nutrition to the child.

Don’t smoke- If you smoke, stop smoking when you become pregnant. This is a risk factor for pregnancy complications.

Don’t drink alcohol- Just like smoking, consuming alcohol is also unsafe for the unborn baby. This can hamper his/her development process.

Don’t play contact sports- Swimming is allowed during pregnancy but you should avoid contact sports and other risky activities.

Don’t diet in pregnancy- If you were following some diet before conceiving, discontinue it now. This could deprive the baby of essential nutrients that promote growth and development. Have a balanced diet.

Exercises During Pregnancy

It is totally safe to exercise during pregnancy. However, only low-intensity or moderate exercises are allowed. Here are some physical activities that can be performed during pregnancy:

Walking: There is no easy and effective workout as walking. You can do a brisk walk also as it won’t tire you much and good for your joints.

Swimming and light water workouts: Swimming is safe for pregnant women and light water sports are allowed by the doctors for pregnancy. These promote a healthy heart rate and won’t cause back ache like other activities.

Bicycling: You can safely ride a bicycle at least throughout your second trimester. However, considering the risks of falling, it is better to opt for indoor cycles or stationary bicycles.

Yoga and Pilates: These are low-impact exercises that are great for a pregnant woman. These not only boost physical strength but also promote mindfulness that helps in improving mental health during pregnancy.

Low-impact aerobics: You can consult your fitness trainer to suggest to you some low-impact aerobic exercises that are safe during pregnancy. Many exercises can be modified in such a way that they are safe for expecting mothers.

Health Problems During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is not always smooth and there may arise one or many problems during the period. Here are some of the common pregnancy health problems that may crop up.


This condition arises when the body doesn’t produce enough red blood cells. Anaemia can be caused due to poor intake of iron and anaemic women feel weaker and tired all the time. In such cases, taking iron and folic acid supplements can improve the condition.

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

UTI is common in women but is more prevalent in pregnant women. Infections can arise causing painful urination or burning sensation while urinating, nausea, back pain, smelly urine, pressure on the lower abdomen, etc. According to Dr. Madhavi Reddy, Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist at Motherhood Hospitals, Bangalore, this bacterial infection needs to be treated on time to prevent further complications. Ask your doctor to prescribe some antibiotics to kill these bacteria.

Gestational Diabetes

Women are prone to getting diabetic during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes subsides as you progress towards delivery. However, some women stay diabetic after pregnancy which is called pre-eclampsia condition.

Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

This is also a popular health condition during pregnancy where expecting mothers suffer from high blood pressure. This can cause problems to the unborn baby along with maternal problems. Keeping a check on blood pressure during pregnancy is important to prevent hypertension.

Obesity and Weight Gain

Weight gain during pregnancy can cause complications during delivery and also after delivery. This is why experts emphasize physical activeness during pregnancy to prevent weight gain and obesity.