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Creating a new human life is not easy. If you are pregnant, you will have to eat and drink everything healthy there is to provide the right nourishment to the baby growing in your womb. Getting enough nutrients is critical for the growth of the baby and for your well-being as well during pregnancy. Milk is a rich source of all the essential nutrients that you will need during pregnancy. Apart from eating healthy fruits, veggies, grains, etc., you should also drink a glass of milk daily. To know the benefits of drinking milk and what type of milk you should drink, read on!
Benefits of Drinking Milk During Pregnancy
There are mixed opinions when it comes to including milk and other dairy products in a pregnancy diet, but milk can be very beneficial for you during pregnancy. It can offer you a host of nutrients that you will need for the healthy development of your baby. So, find out why we are insisting on including this wholesome drink in your diet.
- Milk is highly nutritious and is a vital source of calcium and vitamin D for women during pregnancy. And do you know why you need Vitamin D during pregnancy? As per a study, getting enough Vitamin D during pregnancy can lower the baby’s risk of developing allergies in future. Apart from this, pregnant women also need between 1000 and 1300 mg of calcium every day to nourish their body and the body of their developing baby. Drinking milk during pregnancy can meet your calcium requirements. You can drink three cups of milk daily to meet your daily requirement of calcium.
- Drinking milk during pregnancy can also have growth-promoting effects in the foetus and it can help the baby grow tall. The baby may also have higher levels of insulin in his blood during the late teens which can lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Milk is rich in protein, amino acids, and fatty acids – all of which are essential for the development of the baby’s nervous system. Being rich in calcium and iron, milk helps in the formation and development of the bones of the baby and to transport oxygen to the baby. Milk also has all the necessary A, B and D vitamins required for the intrauterine foetal development.
- Milk acts as an effective antacid that can ease heartburn and other gastric ailments, that are a common problem during pregnancy. Drinking milk can also help keep your body hydrated.
- The iodine content in milk has been shown to enhance foetal brain development and increase the IQ of children.
- Milk consumption in pregnancy is also linked to a lowered risk of diseases such as multiple sclerosis, neonatal rickets, and osteoporosis.
What Are the Different Types of Milk You Can Choose From During Pregnancy?
When the different types of milk are processed, their fat and calorie content vary. A woman’s diet and body type during pregnancy will determine whether a type of milk is beneficial for her or not. Here are a few types of milk that you can choose from:
1. Skimmed Cow’s Milk
Skimmed milk is low in fat content as it goes through a process where some of its saturated fats are removed to make it light. Each cup of low-fat skimmed milk provides 305 mg of calcium and 83 calories. The fat removal process also lowers the levels of some of the fat-soluble vitamins like Vitamin A, D, E and C. Drinking 2-3 cups of skimmed milk can meet all your daily calcium requirements without providing you with extra calories.
2. Whole Milk
Whole milk is the opposite of skimmed and contains extra fats and nutrients that get removed in the skimming process. A cup of whole milk contains about 5 g of saturated fat and 149 calories. This is ideal if you are not overweight and enjoy full cream milk.
3. Pasteurised Milk
Pasteurisation is the process where milk is heated on a high temperature to destroy pathogens and enzymes that spoil the milk when it is in storage. Whether you choose skimmed or whole, you must make sure that it is pasteurised to avoid any serious diseases from occurring to you or your baby. If you enjoy drinking cold milk, then it is safest when pasteurised.
4. Raw milk
Raw milk is basically unpasteurised milk. It often contains a host of infectious pathogens, unnecessary enzymes, and pus cells from the cow. If your only source is raw milk, then make sure it is boiled and cooled or consumed as hot milk.
Nutritional Facts of Different Types of Milk
Not all women prefer the same type of milk and not all need the same level of nutrition when the rest of their diet is taken into account. For example, vegans would prefer non-dairy and organic milk from plant sources and some might just go with the taste. So here are some types of milk with their nutritional facts – choose what you like!
1. Cow’s Milk
Cow’s milk is abundantly available and consumed by many. It comes in raw, skimmed, whole and flavoured types.
Nutritional Facts: Cow’s milk is rich in calcium, and Vitamins A, D and E. The proteins and amino acids present in the milk are essential for cell building in both the mother and foetus. Vitamin D is critical for calcium absorption and protects against gestational diabetes. Vitamin A strengthens the immune system and helps in good vision. Vitamin E has antioxidant properties and protects against diseases. A glass of cow’s milk can provide you with 285 mg of calcium.
2. Goat Milk
Goat milk, though not a popular choice among many people, is highly nutritious. It may taste a bit odd, but is worth trying if you’re looking for more quality and less quantity. It is available as fresh milk, UHT (Ultra High Temperature processed) milk that is heated above 135 degrees Celsius to get rid of spores, and in organic varieties.
Nutritional Facts: Goat milk is higher in protein, Vitamin B2, and butterfat globules as compared to cow’s milk. The healthy dietary fats in goat milk also help lower cholesterol levels, speed up the metabolic process, and aid digestion. The Vitamin A content in the milk is readily absorbed by the body. A glass of goat milk contains 283 mg of calcium.
3. Soya Milk
To make soya milk, ground soybeans soaked in water. It contains the same level of proteins as cow’s milk and is available in flavoured, fibre, and calcium-enriched varieties.
Nutritional Facts: Soya milk can provide you with ample amounts of calcium essential for the mother and the baby. It also offers healthy fats that are good for the heart while being cholesterol-free. Soya milk is also rich in antioxidants that fight cancer and boost immunity. One glass of soya milk can provide you with 300 mg of calcium.
4. Almond Milk
Also known as badam milk, it is made by grounding almonds and adding water. It is an excellent alternative to those who are allergic to gluten and soya.
Nutritional Facts: Almond milk is rich in folic acid, Vitamin B, Vitamin E, calcium, iron, protein, and fibre. It is low in calories, saturated fat, and cholesterol. A glass of unfortified almond milk gives 7.5 mg of calcium.
5. Oat Milk
Nutritional Facts: Oat milk is high in Vitamins A and B and minerals such as potassium, phosphorus, and manganese. It contains more proteins than almond milk and rice milk (made with ground rice and water) but not as much as cow milk. It has a fairly good amount of calcium, i.e., 120 mg per glass.
6. Milk Powder
The instant formula in the form of milk powder is made from natural pasteurised milk. It has the same nutritional content as cow’s milk.
These are different types of milk. It is said that drinking saffron milk is very beneficial milk for a pregnant woman. If you want to drink saffron milk while pregnancy, you can add a few strands of saffron in any milk and drink it. Saffron milk can help lower blood pressure, mood swings and improve digestion.
How to Drink Milk During Pregnancy
If you drink raw or unpasteurised milk during pregnancy, it can be troublesome for you and your baby. This is why we will tell you how you should drink milk while pregnant –
- Milk is absorbed well when thinned with water in a ratio of 2 to 1. So you can drink milk tea or a light milkshake.
- Drink warm milk by taking small sips – don’t rush.
- Don’t drink milk after having a heavy meal.
- Keep the minimum at 3 cups a day at different times.
Precautions and Tips
While drinking milk is beneficial in pregnancy, there are few things one must remember while consuming milk or other dairy products.
1. What to Eat or Drink
Consume dairy products such as yoghurt as an afternoon snack. Have milk with a bowl of cereal for a fuller breakfast. Low-fat cheese is a great spread on sandwiches and with salads.
2. What to Avoid
Avoid unpasteurized milk and dairy products made out of it.
How Much Milk to Drink During Pregnancy
Drinking too much milk during pregnancy can lead to bloating and indigestion. So you must drink milk or consume dairy products in moderation. Drinking three cups of milk per day during pregnancy can provide you with all the necessary nutrients no matter what your weight, level of physical activity, or stage of pregnancy is. But, if you’re drinking any other form of milk apart from cow’s milk, count the nutrient levels and vary the amount accordingly.
1. Drinking Milk During Pregnancy Will Make My Baby Fair – Is it True?
This is a myth. Drinking milk or saffron milk won’t affect the complexion of your baby. The complexion depends entirely on the genes inherited from the parents.
2. What Will Happen If I Do Not Drink Milk During Pregnancy?
Pregnant women who consume less than one cup of milk a day during pregnancy may have smaller babies as compared to those who consumed more than one cup. Pregnant women who are calcium-deficient due to low consumption of milk experience a loss of bone mass during pregnancy as the foetus absorbs calcium from the mother for development.
3. Can I Drink Milk at Night While Pregnant?
Do not drink milk immediately after a meal. You can drink warm milk with honey before going to sleep for a better quality of sleep and to maintain optimum blood sugar levels in the night.
Whatever may be the type of milk you decide to consume, get the right amount so you can provide all the essential nutrients your baby needs for healthy development.