“I don’t want to become fat.”
When I consult with expecting moms in the early stages of their pregnancy, I hear this often.
Right after wishing that they have a safe pregnancy and give birth to a healthy baby, expecting moms wish that they never become fat.
To make this wish come true, many pregnant moms plunge into low fat or no fat diets.
Unfortunately, this is extremely unsafe.
Why do you need fat in your diet during pregnancy?
- Fats support your baby’s brain and eye development.
- Placenta and other tissues require fat to grow.
- Vitamins A, D, E and K are absorbed from the gut in the presence of fat.
- The cell membrane of each cell is made up of fat.
- Hormone production requires fat.
- Immune function, blood clotting and many other functions require fat.
How to add good fat to your diet during pregnancy
- Ghee –
Eat ghee in moderate quantities with every meal.
Use ghee –
- To cook
- On rotis or on rice
- In laddoos
- In halwas
Eat coconut in some form every day.
Use coconut as –
- Coconut water
- Tender coconut (malai)
- Coconut flesh as chunks, grated and used as garnish or grated and made into laddoos
- Dry coconut in chutneys
- Coconut oil to season vegetables or chutneys
- Seeds –
Get the good fats in seeds into your diet in the following ways –
- As cold pressed oils. For example – mustard oil, sesame oil, ground nut oil, sunflower oil and so on.
- As seasoning – like mustard, sesame, fennel
- Nuts –
Eat nuts in the following ways –
- By themselves as snacks
- As a gravy base – cashew nut is a popular gravy base
- In cakes, muffins, laddoos and halwas
Which fats should be avoided during pregnancy?
- Trans Fats
Avoid trans fats. Trans fats are manmade fats that are chemically modified to ensure that they don’t become rancid.
These fats are used in all packaged and processed food to give them a long shelf life.
Most commercially prepared food like cakes, pizzas etc. also use trans fats.
The easiest way to avoid trans fat is to avoid eating food which is not cooked at home.
- Refined Vegetable oils
Vegetable oils are usually extracted from seeds. However instead of the oil being extracted by cold pressing, which is a physical method, the oil is extracted using chemicals. The oil is then subjected to more chemical processes to deodorize it and make it appealing.
The use of so many chemicals makes refined vegetable oil a poor choice.
Fats are essential for the healthy development of your baby. They are also important for your good health. Do not allow trending news about fats to mislead you. Eat what your family has eaten for generations and make sure it is natural and local.
Dr. Debmita Dutta MBBS, MD
Dr. Debmita Dutta MBBS, MD is a practicing doctor, a parenting consultant, and the founder of WPA whatparentsask.com She conducts online and offline workshops on parenting for schools and corporate organisations. She also conducts online and offline prenatal and infant care classes. She is a well-known thought-leader in parenting. Her books on parenting are published by Juggernaut Books and she is frequently quoted in national and international publications of repute. She is renowned for her empathetic and compassionate approach to parenting and her application of physiology and brain science to parenting.