Consuming Milk During Pregnancy - Types, Benefits, Tips, And Precautions

Consuming Milk During Pregnancy - Health Benefits, Types, Tips, And Precautions

A pregnant needs to eat and drink a healthy and well-balanced diet to nourish her baby in the womb. Taking an adequate amount of essential nutrients during pregnancy is very crucial to maintain maternal health and for the growth and development of the baby as well. Milk is a rich source of vitamin D, calcium, and many more such nutrients that you require to maintain your well-being while pregnant and to provide the proper nourishment to your growing baby. Apart from eating healthy foods such as fruits, veggies, grains, nuts, and seeds, it's good that you drink a glass of milk daily during pregnancy. Read this article to know all benefits of having milk during pregnancy.

Consuming Milk During Pregnancy - Types, Benefits, Tips, And Precautions

Benefits of Drinking Milk during Pregnancy

Milk is a good source of several essential nutrients that are crucial for a healthy pregnancy and play a major role in the growth and development of your little one in the womb. Here are some amazing benefits of drinking milk during pregnancy :

1. Excellent Source of Calcium

Milk is an excellent source of calcium. Your body can't make calcium, so you need to get it from foods or supplements. Your body needs at least 1000 mg of calcium every day. Dairy foods such as cheese, yogurt, and milk are some of the best sources of calcium. Calcium is essential for the proper development of your baby's teeth and bones. If you don't take enough calcium during pregnancy it will make you more prone to osteoporosis, a condition that causes brittle bones. Milk is one of the best sources of calcium hence include it in your pregnancy diet to meet your daily calcium requirements. It also helps to keep your body hydrated throughout the day during pregnancy.

2. Promote Fetal Development

Milk is a great source of protein, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin D. All of these nutrients helps to maintain maternal health and also support your baby to grow to a healthy birth weight. Low birth weight can lead to various complications such as increased infection risk, jaundice, and respiratory distress syndrome.  Milk contains iodine that helps to enhance fetal brain development.

3. Offers Protein

Milk contains an adequate amount of protein which plays a major role in a healthy pregnancy. It helps your baby to grow normally. A pregnant woman needs to incorporate protein into her diet for the proper growth and development of her fetus. Protein plays several roles in the growth and development of your baby. It promotes proper functioning of the muscles, makes antibodies for the immune system, creation of hormones and enzymes, creation of new cells, and repairs damaged tissues. It helps to build up your baby's soft tissues, the placenta, and red blood cells. It also helps to form your baby's hair, nails, bones, and organs. Since protein plays so many essential functions in the body. Hence, it's very crucial that you take enough protein while pregnant. 

4. Good Source of Vitamin D

A pregnant woman needs 400 IU of vitamin D per day. Milk contains vitamin D and intake of milk during pregnancy helps you to meet your daily requirement of this vitamin. Taking an adequate amount of Vitamin D in pregnancy is very crucial as it helps to prevent neonatal rickets and low birth weight. 

5. Antacid Property 

Milk works as an antacid that helps to ease heartburn and gastric ailments, common complications during pregnancy. The consumption of milk while pregnant is also linked to a lowered risk of diseases such as osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis. 

Types of Milk

Milk is of various types based on its fat and calorie content. Here are a few varieties of milk that you may choose from during pregnancy :

1. Whole Milk or Full-Cream Milk

It contains excess fats and nutrients. A cup of whole milk provides you 5 g of saturated fat and 150 calories. This milk is ideal for you to consume during pregnancy if you're not overweight or obese. It can be a part of your pregnancy diet if your doctor recommends you. However, taking high-fat content in pregnancy can lead to excess weight gain. 

2. Low-Fat or Skimmed Milk

It is low in fat content and is ideal to keep yourself fit and healthy during pregnancy. It also contains several nutrients that you need for a healthy pregnancy. A glass (240 ml) of skimmed milk contains about 310 mg of calcium which is crucial for the expectant mother as well as the growing baby in the womb. 

3. Pasteurised Milk

Pasteurization is the process of heating milk at a high temperature to destroy pathogens and enzymes that spoil it while it is in storage. If you choose to have whole milk during pregnancy make sure that it is pasteurized to prevent the chances of developing any serious complications.

4. Raw Milk

Raw milk is unpasteurized milk that may contain pathogens, enzymes, and harmful bacteria such as salmonella, E.coli, brucella, listeria, etc. that can pose serious health risks to you and your baby during pregnancy. It is milk from any animal such as cows, goats, or sheep that has not been pasteurized to kill harmful bacteria. So, whenever you opt for raw milk while pregnant make sure that it is boiled.

Nutritional Value of Different Varieties of Milk

Milk comes from different sources such as plants and animals. Some pregnant women choose non-dairy and organic milk from plant sources while some would prefer milk from animal sources. So, here is a list of a few types of milk with their nutritional facts. You can choose what you like the most.

1. Cow Milk

Cow milk comes in raw, skimmed, whole, and flavored types. It is a rich source of calcium and vitamins such as vitamins D, A, and E. All of these nutrients present in milk play a key role to maintain maternal health and for the proper growth and development of the fetus. A glass of cow's milk can provide you about 265 mg of calcium. Vitamin A helps to strengthen the immune system and is essential for visual health and fetal growth. It helps to build your developing baby's immune system and also helps them to develop healthy skin and good vision. Vitamin D helps to improve maternal health and reduces the risk of developing gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, preterm birth, and even a low-birth weight. Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant and protects the body tissues from free radicals which can harm your cells, organs, and tissues. It also helps in the formation of red blood cells (RBCs). It plays a major role in the early development of an embryo's nervous system and also improves blood circulation in the expectant mother. 

2. Goat Milk

Goat milk is not so popular but highly nutritious. It is higher in protein, butterfat globules, fat, calories, and vitamin B2 as compared to cow's milk. A glass of goat's milk can provide you about 134 mg of calcium. It is available as fresh milk or UHT (Ultra-High Temperature Processed) milk. It contains a high content of vitamin A which is directly absorbed by the body. This milk contains a good amount of vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) which helps your body to produce energy. Vitamin B2 helps to promote your baby's growth, good vision, and healthy skin. It also plays a major role in your baby's bone, muscle, and nerve development.

3. Soy Milk

Soy milk is made up of grinding water-soaked ground soybeans. It contains the same level of protein as cow's milk and is available in fat-free, whole, flavored, varieties. It also comes fortified with fiber or calcium. A glass of soy milk provides you almost 300 mg of calcium. It is cholesterol-free and contains monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that help to fight against cardiovascular diseases thereby promoting a healthy heart. It contains antioxidants that help to fight cancer and also boost your immunity.

4. Almond Milk

Almond milk is a plant-based beverage made up of filtered almonds and water which is naturally dairy and lactose-free that makes it a good option for vegans. It's a good alternative for those expectant mothers who don't like dairy milk and also a good option for those who are lactose intolerant or dairy allergic. It is very low in calories as compared to cow's milk. Almond milk contains various nutrients and is an excellent source of Vitamin E. It is low in protein, saturated fat, and cholesterol and is commonly fortified with Vitamin D and calcium while processing. A glass of unfortified almond milk provides you about 7.5 mg of calcium. 

5. Oat Milk

Oat milk is high in fiber, vitamins such as vitamins A, B, and minerals such as potassium, phosphorus, and manganese. It is low in calories and contains more protein as compared to almond milk and rice milk. It contains low protein as compared to cow's milk. The high fiber content of oat milk helps to prevent constipation. It also helps to control your excess craving for food. It contains beta-glucan which is the main dietary fiber that helps to maintain blood glucose levels. A glass of oat milk provides you about 120 mg of calcium. 

6. Rice Milk

Rice Milk is made up by blending rice with water. It is available in skimmed, flavored varieties and also comes fortified with calcium or protein. It is low in fat and protein but contains more carbohydrates as compared to cow's milk hence not good for diabetic women. It is high in antioxidants and contains high levels of the vitamin B complex. These B vitamins play a key role in a healthy pregnancy and reduce the chances of birth defects as well. A glass of rice milk provides you about 118 mg of calcium. 

7. Milk Powder

It is made by evaporating milk to dryness. It is also known as dried milk. It has a far longer shelf life as compared to liquid milk. It is easy to store and you don't need to refrigerate it due to its low moisture content. It contains all 21 standard amino acids which are the building blocks of protein. Milk powder is high in soluble vitamins and minerals.

8. Saffron Milk 

Saffron Milk is made by adding saffron strands to milk. Saffron acts as an antidepressant that helps to control stress and calm down mood swings which are very common during pregnancy. It helps to control the common cold and cough. It aids in digestion and also improves blood circulation. It is rich in various active components such as carotenoids, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants that boost your immunity during pregnancy. The nutrients present in saffron milk also help to regulate blood sugar levels, reduce inflammation, and increase bone strength. It has a muscle relaxant effect like oxytocin hormone which prepares your body for delivery and helps to ease childbirth. 

Tips and Precautions to take while consuming milk during Pregnancy

Some of the tips and precautions that you should follow while consuming milk or any other dairy products during your pregnancy period are:

-> To prepare your breakfast, you can incorporate milk with cereals such as oats, oatmeal, cornflakes, or barley.

-> Have yogurt as an afternoon snack.

-> If you're drinking cow's milk opt for skimmed or low-fat varieties.

-> If you choose plant-based milk alternatives, opt for unsweetened varieties of milk. 

-> Check out the ingredients label and nutrition facts panel to know about fortification information. 

-> Avoid unpasteurized milk or any other dairy products made out of it. Consumption of such products can pose the risk of bacterial contamination which can lead to listeriosis.

-> Avoid cheeses that are made up of unpasteurized milk such as soft cheeses (Brie and Camembert), and Mexican-style soft cheeses (Queso Fresco, Queso Blanco, Panela, and Asadero).

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What will happen if I drink too much milk while pregnant?

Having too much milk during pregnancy can lead to indigestion or bloating. So, always remember to consume milk or any other dairy products in limited quantities. 

2. Does drinking milk during pregnancy make a baby fair?

No, it's a myth. There is no scientific evidence that proves the same. Your baby's complexion totally depends on genetic inheritance. 

3. Does drinking saffron milk during pregnancy makes a baby fair?

No, drinking milk or saffron milk during pregnancy won't affect your baby's complexion as it entirely depends on the genes inherited from the parents.

4. Can I drink milk at night during pregnancy?

You can drink warm milk before going to sleep but don't drink milk right after having a meal. 

5. How much milk should I consume during pregnancy?

You can take three cups of milk at intervals per day during your pregnancy period. A pregnant woman needs to consume milk according to her nutrition requirement. Some expectant mothers require high nutritional value while others only require a small amount of it. The amount of nutritional value that you require entirely depends on the diet that you take throughout the day during your pregnancy period. So, it's better to consult your doctor to know the right amount of milk for you to consume during pregnancy. 

6. Is it good to drink milk during pregnancy?

Milk is considered a healthy drink and a good source of calcium, vitamin D, and many more essential nutrients that you require for a healthy pregnancy. It's good to drink milk while pregnant.

7. When should you drink milk during pregnancy?

Drink warm milk before going to sleep. Avoid drinking milk right after having a meal.

8. Which milk is good during pregnancy?

Milk comes in various varieties such as whole, fat-free, low-fat, skimmed, or flavored. All these varieties contain calcium and are rich in amino acids which helps to build cells for you and your little one in pregnancy. The variety of milk that is best for you depends on the nutritional value that you require during pregnancy so it's better that you consult your doctor to know which milk is best for you.

9. Should I drink whole milk during pregnancy?

If you're drinking non-fat or low-fat milk then there is no such need to switch to whole milk. Whole milk contains fat which can contribute to excess weight gain. If you're already overweight then gaining unhealthy weight during pregnancy can lead to several health complications. If your doctor recommends taking whole milk then you can switch to it.

10. How to drink milk during pregnancy?

Some of the ways to include milk in your pregnancy diet are:
  • Combine it with cereals to have a healthy breakfast
  • Take three cups of milk at intervals.
  • Don't drink milk immediately after having a meal.
  • Avoid taking milk after a heavy meal.
  • Take warm milk in small sips. 

Milk is packed with essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that are crucial to maintaining maternal health and for the proper growth and development of your little one in the womb. It's always better to consult your doctor before adding any new food to your pregnancy diet. Talk to your healthcare provider to know the type and amount of milk which is safe and healthy for you to take during your pregnancy period.

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    Disclaimer: This content is intended for general information only and should not be used as the basis of patient treatment. The given content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, treatment, or any diagnosis. Always consult a doctor for more information. Our website doesn't claim responsibility for this information.

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