“If motherhood was supposed to be easy, it wouldn’t have started with labor,” and to this beautiful quote I will add a word “pregnancy” as this tremendous journey takes a woman’s body through changes which can result in uncomfortable conditions. Although a very normal natural phenomena, yet an extraordinary journey. In this article we will discuss tips about diet during pregnancy.
Diet During Pregnancy
A Balanced Diet
Taking care of diet during pregnancy by taking balanced diet is an ideal way to give your baby a healthy head start in life. Other added benefit and the most important one is that it can make pregnancy comfortable and safer. Go for good food when you are eating for two.
Healthy diet during pregnancy can lead to:
- Baby being born with healthy weight.
- Promotes brain development.
- Decreases the risk of birth defects like spinal bifida.
For mum right diet during pregnancy can reduce and minimise the issues like
- Gestational diabetes
- morning sickness
- Preterm labor
Step By Step Diet Routine During Pregnancy
For a healthy diet during pregnancy:
- Eat better not a lot.
- Omit unsafe foods
- Don’t try to loose weight while pregnancy
- You do not need to eat for two
- Eat small frequent meals
- Don’t indulge in junk food
1.Weight Gain During Pregnancy
Recommendations for total weight gain during pregnancy by pregnancy BMI*
|Pregnancy BMI (kg/m2)||Category||Total weight gain range||Total weight gain range for pregnancy with twins|
|18.5-24.9||Normal weight||25-35 lbs||37-54 lbs|
|25.0-29.9||Overweight||15-25 lbs||31-50 lbs|
|> 30.0||Obese||11-20lbs||25-42 lbs|
*Weight Gain During Pregnancy: Reexamining the Guidelines, The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, May 28, 2009.
Average weight gain distribution during pregnancy
|7.5 pounds||Average baby’s weight|
|7 pounds||Extra stored protein, fat and other nutrients|
|4 pounds||Extra blood|
|4 pounds||Other additional body fluids|
|2 pounds||Breast enlargement|
|2 pounds||Uterine enlargement|
|2 pounds||Amniotic fluid|
|1.5 pounds||The placenta|
*Source adapted from Institute of Medicine.
Weight gain during pregnancy is mainly due to baby growing, but mum’s body also store fat, making body ready to produce milk after baby is born. Abnormal weight gain can lead to complications. Expectant mum should eat sensibly by choosing healthy foods instead of foods with empty calories, later on which are easy to shed as well.
2. Lifestyle Changes
In addition to a balanced nutrition, women should change their lifestyle during pregnancy to achieve and perpetuate a salubrious pregnancy.
Researches have conclusions that associate use of Caffeine in pregnancy with spontaneous miscarriage. It should be taken less than 200mg/day.
Caffeine content in selected commercially available beverages (US Food and Drug Administration)
|Beverage||Caffeine content (mg)|
|Mountain Dew (12oz)||55|
|Diet Coke (12oz)||45|
|Coca-Cola Classic (12oz)||23|
*From US Food and Drug Administration.
Consumption of alcohol during pregnancy is strongly associated with the increased risk of abnormal fetal development and neurological abnormalities. It’s consumption should be reduced to less than 2 drinks/day.
Certain types of contact sports like rugby and sports with higher risk of falls for instance, downhill skiing, gymnastics, horseback riding are advised to be avoided during pregnancy. Regular moderate exercise is advised to reduce the incident of Gestational diabetes, keep the expectant mum active. Moderate exercise is also believed to be associated with ease in delivery.
3. What To Eat During Each Trimester
Iron-rich meals should be introduced which helps blood to move oxygen around the body. It’s vital in pregnancy, as blood volume increases.
During first trimester expecting mum do not need any additional calories. The diet routine should be focused on keeping energy levels up and proper development of the baby.
Folic acid supplements are a must during first 12 weeks of pregnancy as it helps in the prevention of spinal cord, neural tube and brain defects. Also add folic acid rich rich foods as well.
Morning sickness is main problems during first trimester.
- Take small and frequent meals.
- Savoury foods should be taken like bread, plain biscuits etc and
- Starchy foods like potatoes, pasta, rice porridge etc. To overcome a bit of symptoms of morning sickness.
- Keep a pack of plain biscuits on your side table for nibbling as you get up in the morning.
- Use fresh ginger in cooking and drink ginger tea a couple times during the day to minimise nausea..
- Minimal consumption of fatty foods as they are hard to digest.
Second trimester is regarded as best stage in pregnancy by most of the mums as nausea subsides. Magnified sense of smell and taste leads to food cravings or dislikes.Increase daily calorie intake by 300 to 350 calories per day.
Common problem during pregnancy is constipation which can be combated by focusing on whole grain foods and foods with high fiber content like fruits and vegetables.
Fluid intake should be atleast 1 ½ – 2 litres of water, herbal teas or juices (diluted).
Iron rich foods should be included in the diet routine during pregnancy as pregnancy progression might deplete iron reserves. Including a rich source of vitamin C like any of citrus fruits can enhance iron absorption from meal.
Heartburn and indigestion are common issues of third trimester. It can be reduced by
- eating small and frequent meals
- Avoiding lying or bending down after meals
- Abstaining fatty foods
- Refrain too much consumption of spices.
You’ll need about an extra 500 calories per day.
Calcium needs are doubled during the last 10 weeks of pregnancy to strengthens baby’s bones.
4. Foods To Eat During Pregnancy
Fruit and vegetables in pregnancy
Add lots of fruit and vegetables in diet because these provide vitamins and minerals. Also they are rich source of fiber, which prevent constipation by assisting digestion.
Eat at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day, most preferably fresh, with one item to be from citrus family.
Starchy foods (carbohydrates) in Pregnancy
Starchy foods are a salient source of energy, vitamins and fibre, and are satisfying without adding too many calories. Pregnant women with vegetarian food choices must consume foods with all essential amino acids to produce the protein vital for fetus’s growth. They include
- Sweet potatoes
- Breakfast cereals
The above given foods should make up about a third of the food eaten. Wholegrain should be chosen instead of processed (white) varieties, or potatoes with their skins on, as they contain more fibre.
Protein in pregnancy
Proteins being the basic building blocks, are extremely important for healthy development of the foetus. It’s vital for the formation of muscles, enzymes, antibodies and collagen.
Protein rich foods should be added in daily routine. Sources of proteins are:
- meat (avoid liver)
For a healthy diet during pregnancy, care must be taken by
- Removing skin from poultry
- Choose lean meat
- Don’t add extra oil or fat for cooking it.
- Lamb, beef, eggs, poultry, meat made products should be properly cooked.
- Meat should not be pink from inside once cooked with pink or red juices coming out.
- Eat two portions of fish per week, one portion should be of mackerel, salmon or sardine (oily fish).
Dairy in pregnancy
Dairy foods such as milk, cheese, fromage frais and yoghurt are a must in pregnancy, as they contain calcium and other nutrients that the baby needs.
- Choose low-fat dairy products when possible like semi skimmed or skimmed milk, low fat low sugar yoghurt and fat reduced hard cheese.
- Take about two to three portions a day.
5. Foods to Avoid
List of foods that are high in fat, sugar or both
- Foods and drinks with high content of fat and sugar should be taken in small amounts.
- These foods have usually high calories which can lead to weight gain.
- Drinks and foods with high sugar content contribute to tooth decay.
- Blood cholestrol level can be increased by too much of saturated fat, thus increasing the chance the development of heart disease.
- Take unsaturated fats instead of saturated fats.
Foods having high content of fat and sugar are:
- All spreading fats like butter
- salad dressings
- ice cream
- fizzy drinks
6. Healthy Snacks In Pregnancy
Another suggestion for diet during pregnancy is that if you feel hungry between meals, avoid eating snacks with high fat and/or sugar, instead, choose something healthier, such as:
- Sandwiches or pitta bread filled with grated cheese, lean meats, mashed tuna, salmon, or sardines, with salad
- Salad vegetables, such as carrot, celery or cucumber
- Low fat yogurt and fruit yogurts and formage frais
- Hummus with vegetable sticks
- Ready-to-eat apricots, figs or prunes
- Mixed nuts and dry fruits
- Milkshakes and smoothies
- Vegetable and bean soups
- Unsweetened breakfast cereals,
- Or porridge with milk
- Milky drinks
- Green or herbal tea
- Fresh fruit and fresh fruit juices
- Baked beans on toast or a baked potato
- Baked/bbq fish and chicken
- Here are some more ideas for healthy food swaps.
Recommendations For Nutrients
|Protein||Pregnant women: 1.1g/kg/day|
|Calcium||Women over 18: 1000 mg/day before, during and after pregnancy.|
Women 18 and under: 1300 mg/day before, during and after pregnancy.
|Iron||Pregnant women: 27 milligrams (mg) of iron per day:|
|Pregnant women, 19 and older: about 770 micrograms RAE of vitamin A (approximately 2,565 IU) per day|
Pregnant, 18 and younger: 750 mg (2,500 IU)
|Vitamin D||Pregnant women: 10mcg/day|
|Vitamin C||Pregnant women: 85mg/day|
Pregnant, 18 years or younger: 80mg
|Folic acid||Before conception 400 mcg|
First trimester of pregnancy 400 mcg
2nd & 3rd trimester 600 mcg
|B1, thiamine||Pregnant women: 1.4 mg|
|B2, riboflavin||Pregnant women: 1.4 mg|
|B3, Niacin||Pregnant women: 18 mg|
RICH SOURCES OF IMPORTANT NUTRIENTS
|Split peas||1 cup||16.3 gm|
|Lentils||1 cup||15.6 gym|
|Black beans||1 cup||15 gm|
|Lima beans||1 cup||13.2 gm|
|Avocado||1 cup||10.5 gm|
|Artichokes||Per medium vegetable||10.3 gym|
|Asian pear||Per medium fruit, skin on||9.9 gm|
|Raspberries||1 cup||8 gm|
|Black berries||1 cup||7.6 gm|
|Avocados||½ fruit raw||6.7 gym|
|Broccoli||1 cup||5.1 gm|
|Brussels sprouts||1 cup||4.1 gym|
|Bran flakes||1 cup raw||7 gm|
|Whole wheat pasta||1 cup cooked||6.3 gm|
|Pearled barley||1 cup cooked||6 gm|
|Oatmeal||1 cup cooked||4 gm|
|plain skim-milk yogurt||1 cup||488 mg|
|nonfat fruit yogurt||1 cup||345 mg|
|part-skim ricotta cheese||½ cup||337mg|
|sardines (drained solids with bone)||3 ounces||324 mg|
|skim milk||8 ounces||301 mg|
|calcium-fortified orange juice||1 cup||300 mg|
|Gruyere cheese||1 ounce||287 mg|
|firm tofu made with calcium sulfate||½ cup||253 mg|
|mozzarella cheese||1 ounce||222 mg|
|cheddar cheese||1 ounce||204 mg|
|canned pink salmon, with bones and liquid||3 ounce||181 mg|
|cooked spinach||½ cup||136 mg|
|boiled collards||½ cup1 cup||133 mg|
|nonfat cottage cheese||1 cup||125 mg|
|boiled turnip greens||½ cup||98 mg|
|2 corn tortillas||2||92 mg|
|sesame seeds||1 Tbsp||88 mg|
|dry roasted almonds||1 ounce (about 23 whole)||75 mg|
Common sources of heme iron:
Red meat, poultry, and fish are all good sources of heme iron. (3 ounces of meat is roughly the size of a deck of cards.)
|lean beef chuck||3 ounces||3.2 mg|
|lean beef tenderloin||3 ounces||3.0 mg|
|roast turkey, dark meat||3 ounces||2.0 mg|
|a roast turkey breast||3 ounces||1.4 mg|
|roast chicken, dark meat||3 ounces||1.1 mg|
|roast chicken breast||3 ounces||1.1 mg|
|halibut||3 ounces||0.9 mg|
Common sources of non-heme iron:
|Food item||Amount||Non-heme iron|
|iron-fortified ready-to-eat cereal||1 cup||24 mg|
|fortified instant oatmeal||1 cup||10 mg|
|edamame (boiled soybeans)||1 cup||8.8 mg|
|cooked lentils||1 cup||6.6 mg|
|cooked kidney beans||1 cup||5.2 mg|
|chickpeas||1 cup||4.8 mg|
|lima beans||1 cup||4.5 mg|
|roasted pumpkin seeds||1 ounce||4.2 mg|
|cooked black or pinto beans||1 cup||3.6 mg|
|blackstrap molasses||1 Tbsp||3.5 mg|
|raw firm tofu||½ cup||3.4 mg|
|boiled spinach||½ cup||3.2 mg|
|prune juice||1 cup||3.0 mg|
|whole wheat or enriched white bread||1 slice||0.9 mg|
|raisins||¼ cup||0.75 mg|
1 packet instant oatmeal, prepared with water:1 packet329 RAE (1,099 IU)1 cup cantaloupe cubes:1 cup270 mcg RAE (5,411 IU)1 cup bran cereal with raisins:1 cup261 mcg RAE (868 IU)1 cup raw spinach:1 cup141 mcg RAE (2,813 IU)
|Food item||Amount||Vitamin A|
|baked sweet potato||1 medium||1,096 mcg RAE (21,909 IU)|
|cooked carrot slices||½ cup||665 mcg RAE (13,286 IU)|
|pumpkin pie||1 slice||596 mcg RAE (4,567 IU )|
|boiled spinach:||½ cup||573 mcg RAE (11,458 IU)|
|cooked butternut squash:||½ cup||572 mcg RAE (11,434 IU)|
|1 medium raw carrot:||1 medium||509 mcg RAE (10,191 IU)|
|1/2 cup boiled kale:||½ cup||443 mcg RAE (8,853 IU)|
|1 cup nonfat fortified milk:||1 cup||338 mcg RAE (1,131 IU)|
|large egg, scrambled||1||87 mcg RAE (321 IU)|
|1/2 cup frozen peas, boiled||½ cup||84 mcg RAE (1,680 IU)|
|cheddar cheese||1 ounce||75 mcg RAE (284 IU)|
Here are some of the best food sources of vitamin D:
|Food item||Amount||Vitamin D|
|catfish, cooked||3 ounces||570 IU|
|salmon, cooked||3.5 ounces||360 IU|
|mackerel, cooked||3.5 ounces||345 IU|
|tuna fish, canned in oil||3 ounces||200 IU|
|sardines, from oil can but drained||1.75 ounces||250 IU|
|milk, fortified with 25% of daily value (DV) of vitamin D||1 cup||100 IU|
|orange juice, fortified with 25% of DV of vitamin D||1 cup||100 IU|
|fortified skim milk||1 cup||98 IU|
|margarine, fortified||1 Tbsp||60 IU|
|ready-to-eat cereal, fortified with 10% of DV of vitamin D||1 cup||40 IU|
|egg yolk||1||20 IU|
|Food item||Amount||Vitamin C|
|8 ounces orange juice||8 ounces||124 mg|
|8 ounces grapefruit juice||8 ounces||94 mg|
|raw sweet red bell pepper slices||½ cup||59 mg|
|sliced strawberries||½ cup||49 mg|
|boiled broccoli||½ cup||51 mg|
|grapefruit (pink, red, or white)||½ medium||44 mg|
|papaya cubes||½ cup||43 mg|
|cantaloupe||½ cup||29 mg|
|boiled cabbage||½||28 mg|
|raw mango||½ cup||23 mg|
|mashed sweet potato||½ cup||21 mg|
|baked potato, with skin||1||20 mg|
|boiled beet greens||½ cup||18 mg|
|raspberries||½ cup||16 mg|
|cherry tomatoes||½ cup||10 mg|
Vitamin B1, Thiamine
|Food item||Amount||Vitamin B1|
|Fish (trout)||100 gm||0.43 mg|
|Sunflower seeds||100 gm||1.48 mg|
|Macadamia nuts||100 gm||0.71 mg|
|Wheat bread||1 slice, 29 gm||0.14 mg|
|Green peas||100 gm||0.28 mg|
|Squash||1 cup||0.34 mg|
|Asparagus||100 gm||0.16 mg|
|Soy beans||100 gm||0.43 mg|
|Navy beans||100 gm||0.24 mg|
Vitamin B2, Riboflavin
|Food item||Amount||Vitamin C|
|Natural yogurt||1 cup||0.57 mg|
|Milk||1 cup||0.45 mg|
|Lamb||3 ounce||3.9 mg|
|Beef liver||3 ounce||2.9 mg|
|Almonds||1 ounce||0.32 mg|
|Sun-dried tomatoes||1 cup||0.28 mg|
|Eggs||1 large||0.22 mg|
|Spinach||½ cup||0.21 mg|
|Mushroom||½ cup||0.23 mg|
Vitamin B3, Nacin
|Food item||Amount||Vitamin B3|
|Chicken||100 gm||7.8 mg|
|Tuna||100 gm||5.8 mg|
|Mushrooms||100 gm||5 mg|
|Broccoli||100 gm||0.64 mg|
|Veal||100 gm||9.42 mg|
|Turkey||100 gm||11.75 mg|
|Organ meats||100 gm||10 mg|
|Asparagus||100 gm||1 mg|
|Peanuts||100 gm||12 mg|
|Kidney beans||100 gm||2 mg|
|Bell peppers||100 gm||1 gm|
Do you have any tips for diet during pregnancy? Let us know in the comment section below.
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