Healthy Diet during Pregnancy


Good nutrition is important during pregnancy. A nutritious diet will help you meet the rapidly growing needs of your baby, maintain your health and prepare you for lactation. However, you do not have to eat for two. All you need is a well-balanced diet.

Your body goes through a great deal of hormonal, physiological, and physical changes during pregnancy. The way you nourish your body during this process will affect your own health, as well as the health of your baby.


During pregnancy your body has increased nutritional needs. Although the old adage “eating for two” isn’t entirely correct, you do require more macronutrients (for example, calories, protein, and fluids) and micronutrients (for example, calcium, folate, and iron).

Most women can meet the increased nutritional needs by choosing a diet that includes a variety of nutritious foods, including 8 to 10 glasses of water a day, and by taking a prenatal vitamin prescribed by their health care provider. A simple way to ensure that you are getting all the nutrients that you and your baby need is by eating a variety of foods from each of the food groups every day.


Nutrient Requirements during Pregnancy:

Energy :

Caloric requirement of a pregnant women depens on various factor. Earlier there was a concept that women has to eat for two. Though technically it is correct women often seem to be overeating. Hence, It is required that diets should be tailored according to Pre conception BMI

  Increased Calorie requirements(kcal/d)
Weight Category First Trimester Second Trimester Third Trmesteer
Underweight +150 +200 +300
Normal +350 +500
Overweight +450 +350
Obese +450 +350

Weight gain Categories


Pre-pregnancy BMI(kg/m²) BMI category Weight gain allowed
<18.5 Underweight 28-40lbs
18.5-22.9 Normal 25-35lbs
23-24.9 Overweight 25-30lbs
25-29.9 Grade-I I Obese 15-25lbs
?30 Grade-II Obese 11-20lbs



1.1g/kg/body wt OR Additional 25g in RDA. It is necessary that mother will consume adequate proteins along with adequate calories to meet increased protein requirements. Mother should consume High biological sources of proteins like Milk and Milk Products, Eggs, Chicken, lean meat and fish . If Mother is vegetarian then she should eat plant based sources adequately and complement the foods to get all essential Amino Acids e,g Milk+ Cereal/ Cereal+ Pulses etc.


It is recommended to maintain fat intake in between 25-30%. Fat sources must provide essential fatty acids in proper proportion along with choline.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A has critical role to play in the fetal development.It plays major role in Growth, Vision, and Cell differentiation.The RDA for Pregnant woman is 770 mcg /day. Vitamin A is found in Fruits ,Vegetables, Milk, Egg, Chicken, Fish etc. Excess doses of Vitamin A is known to cause Birth defects.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is required for Strong bones and Teeth of the fetus. We generally get Vitamin D from dietary sources like Fatty fish, Egg yolk, Liver and Fortified milk and the major source is Sunshine. In presence of sunshine our skin makes Vitamin D in our body. The RDA for pregnant woman is 120IU. 15-20 mins daily exposure to Sunshine can fulfill requirement.


Calcium is necessary for Bone formation along with Vitamin D. Vitamin D helps in the absorption of calcium. Adequate intake sources of calcium during pregnancy helps in Bone formation of fetus as well as reduces risk of osteoporosis of mothers bones in feature. RDA is same as Non Pregnant woman i.e 1000 mg/day. Calcium rich sources are Milk, Yogurt, Cheese, Leafy vegetables, Ragi, Rajgeera, Black til etc. Pregnant women must consumes at least 2-3 serving of milk or milk products to get adequate calcium or else should be supplemented.

Folic Acid

The RDA for folate for pregnant woman is 600 mcg/day. The good food sources include Fruits, Dry fruits, Nuts Green leafy vegetables, Whole grains, Asparagus(Shatawari), Charoli, Musk melon etc. In a preconception period

and in Early pregnancy it is generally supplemented (400mcg). As deficiency of folate in early pregnancy leads to serious neural tube defects, Spina Bifida being the commonest one.


Iron, A trace mineral is vital for fetal growth and development. RDA for Iron is 27 mg/d. Rich source are Eggs, Meat, Fish, Chicken, Liver, Green Leafy veg, Dates, Rice flakes, Garden Cress seeds etc. Iron if consumed with a source of Vitamin C like Lemon juice, any Citrus fruit, Amla, tomato it helps in better absorption.


Zinc is essential mineral during first trimester when organs are developing, It also plays important role in Immune system development. RDA is 11mg/d .Rich sources of zinc are Red meat, poultry products, beans, Nuts etc.


It is a trace element essential for the proper functioning of cardiovascular, nervous  as well as immune functions in the body.Deficiency of selenium leads to complications in pregnancy or Miscarriages. RDA of selenium is 60 mcg. Rich sources are Mushrooms, Spinach, Broccoli, Cabbage, Flax seeds( Alsi), Til, Brown Rice etc

Dos and Dont’s During Pregnancy

  1. Have Small and Frequent meals.
  2. Don’t stay hungry for a long time.
  3. Eat foods rich in Fiber like Whole Grains, Whole pulses, Oats, Barley, Fruits, Vegetables, Green leafy vegetable
  4. Drink minimum 1.5-2 Litres of water
  5. Consume Plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  6. Have omega rich foods like oily fishes,walnuts etc
  7. Avoid Smoking and Drinking Completely
  8. Don’t drink tea or Coffee more than 2 cups per day
  9. Avoid deep fried foods, Junk foods, Chinese, Farsan etc
  10. Avoid Maida and Maida products and bakery products like Khari, Butter, Pastries, Cream Biscuits. Consume Brown bread or Multigrain bread instead of white bread.
  11. Avoid excess use of Salt, Sugar, Jaggery, Honey
  12. Exercise regularly according to the doctors advice.
  13. Include Meditation and pre natal yoga in your routine for a better and healthy Pregnancy.
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