Discovering your pregnancy is just the beginning of happiness that a woman feels in the journey of motherhood! You begin to see yourself as a different person altogether! You develop a sense of extra found love and respect for yourself..isnt it?
What makes a pregnancy extra special is that added dose of love & care that you get from your loved ones too! Culturally, we, Indians are inclined towards showing love in the form of food and pregnancy is no exception! Rather it calls for extra helpings of each of the course in all the meals and the advise that goes along is “Now that you are pregnant, you need to eat for two!” One may oblige sometimes but mostly it begins to seem too much if the practice goes on! It doesn’t just seem to end up and you are served extra ghee, extra sweets, extra chapatis and what not!
Well, it does take a toll for sure.
As per the recommendations by ICMR & National Institute of Nutrition until the beginning of the fourth month of pregnancy, the caloric needs broadly remain the same for any healthy woman. From the second trimester the nutritional needs do increase but even in that scenario, the needs for proteins, fats & micronutrient increase and not of carbohydrates in general.
Our traditional Indian food is mostly cereal based and is on average, rich in carbohydrates as compared to proteins. When we say carbohydrates, it is important to know the two types, simple and complex carbohydrates. Simple carbs are like sugars, readily available and readily absorbed ahead of any other nutrient and are responsible for sugar spikes. Complex carbs are the long chains of sugars, like fibre, that get absorbed slowly or don’t get absorbed at all. Complex carbs or fibres are a better form of carbs and prevent the sugar spikes and rampant weight gains.
As a pregnant woman’s body is naturally tuned for enhanced digestion & absorption, adding up too much simple carbs (read sugar) will lead to uncontrolled weight gain in the body. If you wanna justify by saying that it is needed for the development of the baby, so let me tell you that it is protein and fat majorly that is going to contribute towards growth & development of the baby and the placenta and it doesn’t require too much of carbohydrate. Also, It has been documented in several scientific researches that too much of simple carbohydrate in the diet of a pregnant woman, exposes her to the risk of Gestational diabetes and large size of the baby along with the risk of preterm delivery.
A question may arise that then why is carbohydrate even needed? So the answer is for the Protein sparing effect. We need carbohydrate to provide basic energy needed by the body to function. If we deprive ourselves of carbohydrate then the body will begin to use proteins for energy and protein will then not be able to perform its primary function of growth, development & repair.
So simple carbs only in natural form and in moderation is the right way ahead in your pregnancy.
Ditch the added sugar for a healthy pregnancy!