Nutrition And Pregnancy During COVID-19 Pandemic
Of course, a healthy diet is mandatory when you’re pregnant. But the question is, does COVID-19 mean you should modify anything in your diet? It is very important to get those extra calories during pregnancy and stay hydrated, says our registered dietitian and gynecologists at Premier Hospital, Hyderabad.
There is no adequate data at present to say that pregnant women are at more risk of COVID-19 compared to other people. So, pregnant women should also follow the same measures to be safe from COVID-19 infection, just like other people. If you observe symptoms like fever, cough, or any breathing problems, consult your healthcare provider immediately.
Anyway, pregnant women don’t have to change their diet plans, even during COVID-19 but have to maintain good hygiene. Wash everything before you cook and eat.
- Eat three main meals with one nutritious snack a day in the first trimester, and in the second and third trimester, increase the nutritious snacks two.
- Every meal must contain at least one item from energy-producing foods like cereals, fats and sugar and bodybuilding such as pulses, nuts, milk, eggs, meat, and fish) and vegetables & fruits.
- Don’t miss your daily micronutrient supplements (iron & calcium)
- Drink a minimum of 8-10 glasses of fluids per day to stay hydrated.
- Rest at least 2 hours during the daytime and get 8 hours of sleep at night.
- Do physical activity like exercises for at least 30 minutes every day.
- Strictly prohibit drinking alcohol, caffeine, tobacco and drugs because they are very harmful to the unborn baby and also impact your immunity system.
The most essential measure to exercise here along with respiratory hygiene is to maintain cleanliness while buying, cooking and storing all the food by yourself or food handlers at home.
You no need to restrict eating non-vegetarian food; there is no risk of acquiring coronavirus infection if you eat meat or fish. The only precaution is to ensure the food is washed and cooked thoroughly.
There is no superfood that can prevent or cure Corona during pregnancy, but various foods rich in antioxidant nutrients (Vitamin C, E and A), Iron, Proteins, Zinc and omega 3 fatty acids can boost your immunity fight against the infection.
Foods that boost your immunity during pregnancy include:
- Dark green leafy vegetables
- Foods that are rich in Vitamin C like lemon, orange, kiwi, melon, broccoli, berries, etc.
- Yellow-orange fruits like banana, oranges, papaya, mango, & vegetable carrot etc.
- Nuts and seeds like almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, safflower seeds, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, pistachios, poppy seeds, cashews, mustard seeds and more.
- Millets such as bajra, foxtail millet, ragi, quinoa and jowar
- Whole pulses and legumes such as Bengal gram, horse gram, green gram, rajma, soya bean etc.
- Meat, chicken, fish and eggs
- Milk & milk products such as curd and paneer
- Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids
- Herbs, spices and garlic, ginger, black pepper, turmeric and tulsi
Pregnant women will be in a stage of psychological stress. The fear and anxiety increase even more due to the COVID-19 outbreak. In this situation, they can become overwhelmed and result in strong emotions.
In addition, folate, vitamin B6(fish, drumstick leaves, walnut, black gram, banana) & vitamin B12(egg, milk, chicken, salmon) and DHA fatty acid play a vital role in the development of the fetal brain. Therefore, make sure that a pregnant woman’s diet includes foods rich in these nutrients.
Maintaining optimal levels of serotonin and dopamine is very important because they are the neurotransmitters that play a major role in mood changes, anxiety, sleep, energy levels and appetite.
Right now, there is no sign of food or food packaging associated with the spread of coronavirus infection (COVID-19).
Corona possibly spreads to a person when they touch the surface or object infected by the coronavirus and then makes a way to enter into their body by touching the face, nose, eyes etc.
Stay cautious and if you observe any signs of CoVID or an obstetric emergency, consult the doctor for immediate medical care.
COVID 19 precautions for pregnant women
- Washing your hands often is very important to maintain hand hygiene. It reduces more than half of the risk of getting infected from COVID-19.
- Social distancing is another important measure to reduce the risk. Maintain at least 2 meters or 6 feet a distance from others when you go out to public places. Avoid going out as much as possible.
- Always wear a mask when you go out or meet people who come home, even relatives.
- Get your vaccination. Though it may not prevent you from exposure to COVID-19, it reduces the risk of complications during pregnancy. Consult your gynecologist and discuss taking the vaccination.
- Don’t ignore the signs and symptoms, particularly respiratory symptoms like cough or any other respiratory distress. Call your doctor and explain your condition; after a detailed examination, the doctor may advise you to get tested for COVID-19 if necessary.
Consider video consultations as much as possible and go for physical visits to a gynecologist when necessary. However, you may need to appear for the tests such as ultrasound, blood tests, scanning and fetal testing.
If you are a working woman, consider working from home whenever possible.
Don’t panic when you notice symptoms related to COVID; they are also general signs in a pregnant woman. However, symptoms such as high fever, continuous cough, loss of taste etc., indicate a coronavirus infection. Avoid people coming close to you with these symptoms. To know more information, consult our expert gynecologist in Hyderabad at Premier Hospital.
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Santosh Kumar Paila
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