What to eat when pregnant

Pregnancy is a demanding physiological state. .Pregnant woman should eat a variety of foods to make sure that her own nutritional needs as well as those of the growing fetus are met. There is no particular need to modify the usual dietary pattern(i.e. dietary pattern of a normal adult female, 3 meals a day), however, the quantity and frequency of meals has to be increased with special emphasis on certain foods. The daily diet of the pregnant woman should contain an additional 300 calories, 15 g of protein and 10 g of fat from mid-pregnancy. As an increased nutrient intake has been suggested mainly in the second and the third trimesters of pregnancy. During the first trimester, since, there is no significant increase in the size of the fetus and the mother’s body is adjusting to the hormonal and physiological changes. Although during this period the mother should eat a balanced diet.

Dietary pattern

  1. Eat 5-6 meals in a day instead of 3 meals a day.

Early morning


Mid-morning snack


Evening tea


and/or post dinner

2. Increased protein needs can be met by including proteins of good quality like meat, milk, eggs, fish.Proteins can also be obtained from foods like pulses, ground nuts and soybeans,as these are cheaper sources.

3. Eat plenty of green vegetables and fruits so as to meet the increased vitamin and mineral needs.

4. As the iron needs during pregnancy are high so the pregnant woman should eat foods rich in iron,such as, whole grain cereals,whole pulses,some green leafy vegetables like mustard leaves,bathua etc., dried fruits, eggs,meat ,fish. Foods rich in VitaminC like amla, guava, citrus fruits helps to increase the absorption of iron from plant foods.

5. Increased folic acid needs can be met by eating green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts and liver which are good sources of folic acid.

6. Do not take alcohol and tobacco. Take medicines only as presciribed by the doctor.

7. Take folate , calcium and iron supplements regularly as prescribed by the doctor.

8. To minimise the effect of morning sickness and nausea, small and frequent feeding pattern should be followed. Solid carbohydrate foods like biscuits,bread or fruits ,as first food in the morning as well before meals helps tio relieve the nausea of early pregnancy.

9. Due to fetal pressure, constipation is generally experienced by pregnant woman. Therefore, larger quantities of foods rich in dietary fiber ,i.e. whole grain cereals ,whole pulses, sprouts, fresh fruits and vegetables along with plenty of fluids should be included in the diet.

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