During pregnancy, women experience a large number of hormonal and physical changes, some of which can lead to stress. Especially, in these times of COVID-19, stress is tough to avoid.
However, it is a proven fact that stress can drastically alter the neural connectivity in the brain of an unborn child, says Dr. Anil Ballani, MD, Consultant at Meyer Organics and teacher for Diploma in Diabetology with College of Physicians.
Researches have stated that a high level of the same has a damaging impact on the development of the baby's brain. Hence, it is of great importance to work towards maintaining a calm and composed state of mind especially during the tough times of COVID-19. This can be ensured by engaging in relaxing activities such as yoga, meditation, mild exercise along with consuming a healthy diet, she says.
Dr Ballani lists some food items that can help in combating stress while you're pregnant in Lockdown:
Green leafy vegetables
No diet is wholesome without the inclusion of ample green vegetables, which are packed with calcium, subsequently countering muscle fatigue and soreness, during pregnancy. They also enable the brain to kick-start the thermoregulatory processes in the body so that overall calm can be maintained. Options such as spinach, mustard green, fenugreek and broccoli are the best companions for staying stress-free.
Enhance the intake of protein
In the absence of protein, one might frequently experience tiredness and sluggishness, adding up to the stress quotient. To avoid the same, one should increase their protein consumption by at least 10 g, as it helps in the cell and muscle development of both the mother and the baby. For non-vegetarian women, eggs and chicken are the best options; however, if one prefers a vegetarian diet, they should opt for proteins from various pulses, soya, sprouts, beans or legumes.
Items rich in Vitamin C
Vitamin C works towards the reduction of stress hormones along with boosting the immunity. Oranges are the best source of the same and can be consumed either as a whole fruit or in the form of a juice.
Incorporate selective seafood variants
It is a famous belief that seafood is not good for expecting mothers; however, it should be noted that not all varieties of fish are harmful either. Those which are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids help in curbing the rise of stress-causing hormones in the body as well as reduce the risks of heart diseases. Fish like salmon and tuna are filled with the goodness of Omega-3 and can be a part of one's regular meal.
Include whole grains
With high magnesium content, these act as natural sedatives and induce a sense of calm whilst minimising the feeling of anxiety. As an anti-heat food, it is known to keep the body temperature under control. Whole grains like whole wheat, brown rice, buckwheat and barley are some options one can choose from.
Apart from a healthy diet, pregnant women should practise some breathing exercises and light walks in the house. This is will help for a calming effect on mothers and relax their minds during COVID-19.