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For a healthy baby

A new survey has revealed a high incidence of low birth weight babies in urban India.

health and fitness Updated: Dec 27, 2010 00:52 IST

A new survey has revealed a high incidence of low birth weight babies in urban India. So, if you are an expecting mom, here’s how to guard against it — go for malted foods, don’t get stressed, make sure you exercise and cut out smoking and alcohol completely.

The survey conducted by VLCC, a Delhi-based slimming and skin care service group, covered over 1,500 women from the high and middle income groups across Indian cities.

Even in the urban Indian context, 24 percent adults are born with low birth weight (LBW) — less than 2.5 kg — compared to 14.7 percent babies born with normal weight.

“Wrong lifestyle is a major factor responsible for babies born with low birth weight,” says lead researcher Veena Aggarwal of VLCC group.

The first trimester of pregnancy is difficult for would-be mothers as they often suffer vomiting, nausea and fatigue and tend to eat less. The baby thus gets less nutrition, said Aggarwal.

She adds, “Malted food is the best option during the first trimester. Also, they are easily digestible. Germinated ragi, sprouted wheat flour, germinated quinoa, germinated fenugreek seeds, barley, chick pea, germinated kidney beans and soya can be used in different recipes.”

“Instead of having one full meal, five to six frequent small meals are enough for proper nutrition,” says Dhiraj Bhatia, senior consultant in Escorts Heart Institute.

The second and, more so, the third trimester needs the mother to eat extra food to meet nutritional demands and so she has to slowly increase the intake of proteins which include milk, egg, fish or a combination of plant proteins like cereals and pulses. Having a high glucose diet is also very important to maintain a balance. Jaggery (Gur) which is the best form of natural sugar is excellent for mothers-to-be.

First Published: Dec 26, 2010 17:05 IST