Diet TipsNutrition factsPregnancy

How Take Care of Your Diet During Pregnancy?

“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

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

  • Anemia
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Preeclampsia
  • morning sickness
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation
  • 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

McDonald's nutrition fact

1.Weight Gain During Pregnancy

Recommendations for total weight gain during pregnancy by pregnancy BMI*

Pregnancy BMI (kg/m2)CategoryTotal weight gain rangeTotal weight gain range for pregnancy with twins
<18.5Underweight28-40 lbs
18.5-24.9Normal weight25-35 lbs37-54 lbs
25.0-29.9Overweight15-25 lbs31-50 lbs
> 30.0Obese11-20lbs25-42 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 poundsAverage baby’s weight
7 poundsExtra stored protein, fat and other nutrients
4 poundsExtra blood
4 poundsOther additional body fluids
2 poundsBreast enlargement
2 poundsUterine enlargement
2 poundsAmniotic fluid
1.5 poundsThe 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.

  • Caffeine

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)

BeverageCaffeine content (mg)
Tea (5oz)40-80
Dr.Pepper (12oz)61
Mountain Dew (12oz)55
Diet Coke (12oz)45
Pepsi (12oz)43
Coca-Cola Classic (12oz)23

*From US Food and Drug Administration.

  • Alcohol

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.

  • Exercise

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

  • First 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

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.


  • Third trimester

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.

mango nutrition facts

  • 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
  • potatoes
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Bread
  • Oats
  • Maize
  • Millet
  • Yams
  • Cornmeal
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Noodles

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.

oatmeal nutrition facts

  • 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)
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • poultry
  • beans
  • Pulses
  • Nuts

diet tips for weight loss after pregnancy

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
  • oils
  • cream
  • salad dressings
  • chocolate
  • crisps
  • biscuits
  • pastries
  • ice cream
  • cake
  • puddings
  • fizzy drinks

desserts and cakes

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.

diet after pregnancy

Recommendations For Nutrients

ProteinPregnant women: 1.1g/kg/day
Fiber25-35 mg
CalciumWomen over 18: 1000 mg/day before, during and after pregnancy.

Women 18 and under: 1300 mg/day before, during and after pregnancy.

IronPregnant women: 27 milligrams (mg) of iron per day:
Vitamin A


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 DPregnant women: 10mcg/day
Vitamin CPregnant women: 85mg/day

Pregnant, 18 years or younger: 80mg

Folic acidBefore conception 400 mcg

First trimester of pregnancy 400 mcg

2nd & 3rd trimester 600 mcg

B1, thiaminePregnant women: 1.4 mg
B2, riboflavinPregnant women: 1.4 mg
B3, NiacinPregnant women: 18 mg




Food itemAmountFiber
Split peas1 cup16.3 gm
Lentils1 cup15.6 gym
Black beans1 cup15 gm
Lima beans1 cup13.2 gm
Avocado1 cup10.5 gm
ArtichokesPer medium vegetable10.3 gym
Asian pearPer medium fruit, skin on9.9 gm
Raspberries1 cup8 gm
Black berries1 cup7.6 gm
Avocados½ fruit raw6.7 gym
Broccoli1 cup5.1 gm
Brussels sprouts1 cup4.1 gym
Bran flakes1 cup raw7 gm
Whole wheat pasta1 cup cooked6.3 gm
Pearled barley1 cup cooked6 gm
Oatmeal1 cup cooked4 gm


Food item AmountCalcium
plain skim-milk yogurt1 cup488 mg
nonfat fruit yogurt1 cup345 mg
part-skim ricotta cheese½ cup337mg
sardines (drained solids with bone)3 ounces324 mg
skim milk8 ounces301 mg
calcium-fortified orange juice1 cup300 mg
Gruyere cheese1 ounce287 mg
firm tofu made with calcium sulfate½ cup253 mg
mozzarella cheese1 ounce222 mg
cheddar cheese1 ounce204 mg
canned pink salmon, with bones and liquid3 ounce181 mg
cooked spinach½ cup136 mg
boiled collards½ cup1 cup133 mg
nonfat cottage cheese1 cup125 mg
boiled turnip greens½ cup98 mg
2 corn tortillas292 mg
sesame seeds1 Tbsp88 mg
dry roasted almonds1 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.)

Food itemAmountCalcium
lean beef chuck3 ounces3.2 mg
lean beef tenderloin3 ounces3.0 mg
roast turkey, dark meat3 ounces2.0 mg
a roast turkey breast3 ounces1.4 mg
roast chicken, dark meat3 ounces1.1 mg
roast chicken breast3 ounces1.1 mg
halibut3 ounces0.9 mg


Common sources of non-heme iron:

Food itemAmountNon-heme iron
iron-fortified ready-to-eat cereal1 cup24 mg
fortified instant oatmeal1 cup10 mg
edamame (boiled soybeans)1 cup8.8 mg
cooked lentils1 cup6.6 mg
cooked kidney beans1 cup5.2 mg
chickpeas1 cup4.8 mg
lima beans1 cup4.5 mg
roasted pumpkin seeds1 ounce 4.2 mg
cooked black or pinto beans1 cup3.6 mg
blackstrap molasses1 Tbsp3.5 mg
raw firm tofu½ cup3.4 mg
boiled spinach½ cup3.2 mg
prune juice1 cup3.0 mg
whole wheat or enriched white bread1 slice0.9 mg
raisins¼ cup0.75 mg


Vitamin A

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 AmountVitamin A
baked sweet potato1 medium1,096 mcg RAE (21,909 IU)
cooked carrot slices½ cup665 mcg RAE (13,286 IU)
pumpkin pie1 slice596 mcg RAE (4,567 IU )
boiled spinach:½ cup573 mcg RAE (11,458 IU)
cooked butternut squash:½ cup572 mcg RAE (11,434 IU)
1 medium raw carrot:1 medium509 mcg RAE (10,191 IU)
1/2 cup boiled kale:½ cup443 mcg RAE (8,853 IU)
1 cup nonfat fortified milk:1 cup338 mcg RAE (1,131 IU)
large egg, scrambled187 mcg RAE (321 IU)
1/2 cup frozen peas, boiled½ cup84 mcg RAE (1,680 IU)
cheddar cheese1 ounce75 mcg RAE (284 IU)


Vitamin D

Here are some of the best food sources of vitamin D:

Food itemAmountVitamin D
catfish, cooked3 ounces570 IU
salmon, cooked3.5 ounces360 IU
mackerel, cooked3.5 ounces345 IU
tuna fish, canned in oil3 ounces200 IU
sardines, from oil can but drained1.75 ounces250 IU
milk, fortified with 25% of daily value (DV) of vitamin D1 cup100 IU
orange juice, fortified with 25% of DV of vitamin D1 cup100 IU
fortified skim milk1 cup98 IU
margarine, fortified1 Tbsp60 IU
ready-to-eat cereal, fortified with 10% of DV of vitamin D1 cup40 IU
egg yolk120 IU

Vitamin C

Food itemAmountVitamin C
8 ounces orange juice8 ounces124 mg
8 ounces grapefruit juice8 ounces94  mg
kiwi170 mg
raw sweet red bell pepper slices½ cup59 mg
sliced strawberries½ cup49 mg
boiled broccoli½ cup51 mg
grapefruit (pink, red, or white)½ medium44 mg
papaya cubes½ cup43 mg
cantaloupe½ cup29 mg
boiled cabbage½28 mg
raw mango½ cup23 mg
mashed sweet potato½ cup21 mg
baked potato, with skin120 mg
boiled beet greens½ cup18 mg
raspberries½ cup16 mg
cherry tomatoes½ cup10 mg


Vitamin B1, Thiamine

Food itemAmountVitamin B1
Fish (trout)100 gm0.43 mg
Sunflower seeds100 gm1.48 mg
Macadamia nuts100 gm0.71 mg
Wheat bread1 slice, 29 gm0.14 mg
Green peas100 gm0.28 mg
Squash1 cup0.34 mg
Asparagus100 gm0.16 mg
Soy beans100 gm0.43 mg
Navy beans100 gm0.24 mg


Vitamin B2, Riboflavin

Food itemAmountVitamin C
Natural yogurt1 cup0.57 mg
Milk1 cup0.45 mg
Lamb3 ounce3.9 mg
Beef liver3 ounce2.9 mg
Almonds1 ounce0.32 mg
Sun-dried tomatoes1 cup0.28 mg
Eggs1 large0.22 mg
Spinach½ cup0.21 mg
Mushroom½ cup0.23 mg


Vitamin B3, Nacin

Food itemAmountVitamin B3
Chicken100 gm7.8 mg
Tuna100 gm5.8 mg
Mushrooms100 gm5 mg
Broccoli100 gm0.64 mg
Veal100 gm9.42 mg
Turkey100 gm11.75 mg
Organ meats100 gm10 mg
Asparagus100 gm1 mg
Peanuts100 gm12 mg
Kidney beans100 gm2 mg
Bell peppers100 gm1 gm


Do you have any tips for diet during pregnancy? Let us know in the comment section below.










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