Diet in Pregnancy

This information is for you if you want to know more about eating healthily in pregnancy. It also gives you advice about using vitamin supplements before you get pregnant and during pregnancy.

One of the most vital factors to be kept in mind during pregnancy is DIET.

Good nutrition begins before conception.

A woman’s status of nutrition at conception can have positive or negative impacts on her pregnancy outcome. So a healthy diet guideline should be provided to women planning pregnancy.

How much weight should you gain?

You can find out your healthy weight from your BMI (body mass index). This is a measure of your weight in relation to your height. Your healthcare team can work it out for you. A healthy BMI is above 18.5 but below 25. Being overweight carries risks for you and your baby. The more overweight you are, the greater the risks. Being underweight increases the risk of your baby not growing as well as he or she should. Trying to lose weight by dieting during pregnancy is not recommended as it may harm the health of your unborn baby.

Before pregnancy if you are

  • Under weight-Gain (12-21) kg
  • Normal weight-Gain (11-15)kg
  • Over weight-Gain (6-11)kg
  • Obese-Gain (6-8)kg


Extra energy needs for normal weight women

  • First trimester -0 kilocalories
  • Second trimester-350 kilocalories
  • Third trimester-500 kilocalories

Macro and Micro nutrients needed by women during pregnancy

  • Carbohydrate
  • Fibre
  • Protein
  • Potassium
  • Fat
  • Riboflavin
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin B6
  • Iron
  • Vitamin B12
  • DHA
  • Vitamin C
  • Folic acid
  • Zinc
  • Vitamin D

But what are pregnant women really eating?

Foods with poor nutrients density are major contributors to energy, fat and carbohydrate-such as muffins, whole milk, cakes, French fries and sometimes street first foods.

So always think if the food is healthy for your BABY, then it is tasty for the MOM.

So primary messages are

  • Make smart choices from every food group.
  • Find your balance between food intake and physical activity.
  • Get the most nutrition out of your calories.

Base your meals on starchy foods such as bread, rice and pasta, choosing wholegrain if possible. These foods are satisfying without containing too many calories.

  • Eat at least five portions of different fruit and vegetables every day rather than foods that are higher in fat and calories. Potatoes do not count towards your five-a-day targe, and a portion of pure fruit juice only counts as one of your five-a-day, no matter how much you drink.
  • Eat a low-fat diet and don’t increase the number of calories you eat. Eat as little fried food as possible and avoid drinks that are high in added sugars, and other foods such as sweets, cakes and biscuits that have a high fat or sugar content.
  • Instead, eat fibre-rich foods such as oats, beans, lentils, grains and seeds, as well as wholegrain bread, brown rice and wholemeal pasta.
  • Eat some protein every day; choose lean meat, and try to eat two portions of fish a week. Lentils, beans and tofu are also a good source of protein.

How can I reduce the risk of infection from food?

  • Always wash your hands before and after handling food
  • Drink only pasteurised or UHT milk
  • Avoid eating ripened soft cheese such as Camembert, Brie or blue-veined cheese; however, hard cheese varieties such as Cheddar, cottage cheese and processed cheese are safe
  • Avoid eating raw or undercooked food; make sure that ready-prepared meals are cooked as per instructions, paying particular attention to making sure that they are piping hot when reheating. Cook raw meats and ready-prepared chilled meats thoroughly
  • Wash all fruit and vegetables, including ready-prepared salads
  • Wear gloves and wash your hands thoroughly after gardening or handling soil. Avoid contact with cat faeces (in cat litter or in soil) – or, if you must handle it, wear rubber gloves.

Do I need extra vitamins (vitamin supplements) when I am pregnant?

Vitamins are needed for growth and development. There are 13 important vitamins: vitamins A, C, D, E and K and the vitamin B series. Apart from vitamin D, which we get from sunlight, most vitamins come from our diet. It is quite common for people to be low in vitamin D and folic acid (vitamin B9). These vitamins are important in pregnancy and you can boost your levels by taking a vitamin supplement. Supplements of other vitamins are not usually advised.

Folic acid is one of the B vitamins and helps to reduce the risk of your baby having spina bifida. Taking extra folic acid may also reduce the risk of heart or limb defects and some childhood brain tumours. The recommended daily dose is 400 micrograms (μg). Ideally, you should start taking extra folic acid before you conceive and continue to take it until you reach your 13th week of pregnancy. If you did not take folic acid before you became pregnant, start taking it as soon as you realise you are expecting a baby.

You may be advised to take an increased dose if:

  • you have had a previous pregnancy affected by spina bifida
  • have spina bifida in your family
  • you are taking certain medications for epilepsy
  • you have coeliac disease or diabetes
  • your BMI is 30 or more
  • you have sickle-cell anaemia or thalassaemia; the higher dose of folic acid will also help to prevent and treat anaemia if you are in this situation.

All pregnant women are advised to take a daily dose of 10 micrograms (μg) of vitamin D when pregnant and breastfeeding. It is common in our country for Women to have low levels of vitamin D and Calcium. Taking extra supplements of Calcium and Vitamin D can improve your baby’s growth during his or her first year of life, and can reduce their risk of developing rickets.

Conditions that may disturb you during your pregnancy period

Have Carbohydrate rich foods. Example-Dry cereal, cracker. Take Small Frequent Meals.
Limit fried foods and spicy foods.
Drink plenty amount of water, eat foods high in fibre.

What substances should you avoid

Tobacco , Alcohol and Recreational Drugs cross placenta and limit your eating out.

If you are Gestational Diabetic and Hypertensive then you should follow a proper customized diet chart planned by the Dietician.

So Eat Healthy and Live Healthy and be prepared for LACTATION.

Yes! it is a very important Issue in your Motherhood.