Your body experiences hormonal and physical changes during pregnancy, as you know. You'll need to choose great food from many sources to fuel your baby and yourself.

A healthy and balanced diet will make you feel great and give you the nutrients you and your baby require. It's important to ensure that your baby gets all the necessary nutrients.

The good news? These nutrition guidelines are easy to follow and offer delicious options. You can create a healthy meal plan even if you have a lot of cravings.

Caloric and Dietary Recommendations

Every day 300 calories are mandated to sustain a healthy pregnancy. This should be derived from a balanced diet that includes whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and protein. Limit sweets and fats. Healthy, balanced eating habits can help reduce nausea and constipation.

Increased nutrients

It's not surprising that your body needs more nutrition during pregnancy. You are feeding a new person. Even though the old saying "eating for two" is inaccurate, your body will need more micronutrients and macronutrients to support you and your baby.

Micronutrients, also known as vitamins and minerals in dietary supplements, are required only in very small quantities.

Macronutrients can be described as nutrients that provide energy or calories. During pregnancy, you will need to consume more of each type.

These increased nutritional requirements can be met by pregnant women choosing a diet that includes healthy foods like:

  • Complex carbohydrates
  • Protein
  • Vitamins and minerals
  • Omega-3s are a healthy type of fat

How much and what to eat

Your goal? This is not a different way to eat healthily, but it's much more.

Current guidance says to eat the same as usual in the first semester and then to increase 350 calories per day in the second trimester. Then, 450 calories daily will be added in the third trimester as your baby grows.

Avoid junk food that is processed. Chips and soda are examples of foods that lack nutritional value. Fresh fruits and vegetables are better for you and your baby than canned foods.

You don't have to eat all your favorite foods during pregnancy. Balance them with healthy foods to ensure you don't lose any vital vitamins and minerals.


Calcium is good for building bones in your baby and helps regulate fluid use.Pregnant women require 1,000mg of calcium daily, with two 500 mg doses. A calcium supplementation will likely be required to maintain your regular prenatal vitamins.

These are good sources of calcium:

  • Yogurt
  • Milk
  • Low-mercury seafood and fish, including salmon, shrimp, catfish, and canned light tuna
  • Cheese
  • Dark green leafy vegetables
  • Calcium-set tofu


You aim for at least three to four daily servings of dairy products. Dairy foods such as yogurt, milk, and cheese are good calcium, protein, and vitamin D sources.


Protein is essential for properly developing a baby's tissues, organs, and brain. It is also important for breast and uterine tissue growth during pregnancy.

It also helps increase your blood supply, which allows more blood to be sent directly to your baby.

Each trimester of pregnancy brings an increase in your protein requirements. Research shows that pregnant women should consume more protein than is recommended.

You will need between 70 and 100 grams of protein per day, depending on your body weight and the trimester in which you are.

These are good sources of protein:

  • Salmon
  • Chicken
  • Peanut butter
  • Dairy Products
  • Lentils/ Pulses/ soybean
  • Nuts
  • Beans
  • Cottage cheese

Whole grains

These foods provide energy, fiber, iron, and vitamin B. At least half of the daily carbohydrates for pregnant women should be from whole grains like whole-wheat pasta, bread, and brown rice.


Iron can work with potassium, sodium, and water to increase blood circulation. This ensures that both you and your baby receive enough oxygen.

Aim to get 27 mg of iron daily, with some vitamin C, to improve absorption. These are good sources of this nutrient:

  • Cereals and enriched bread
  • Citrus fruits
  • Eggs
  • Dark green leafy vegetables
  • Non-vegetarian
  • Beet Root / Pomegranate
  • Jaggery


Folate, also known as folic acid, is important in reducing the risk of neural tube defects. These are serious congenital disabilities that can affect the baby's brain or spinal cord, including spina bifida or anencephaly.

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) recommends that pregnant women consume 600 to 800 mg of folate. These foods contain folate:

  • Nuts
  • Liver
  • Eggs
  • Lentils and dried beans
  • Dark green leafy vegetables
  • Peanut butter and nuts

Vegetables and fruits

A healthy pregnancy diet should include plenty of fruits and vegetables, especially during the second and third trimesters. Eat five to 10 servings of produce daily, roughly the size of a tennis ball. These colorful foods are low-calorie and high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals.


You will also need other nutrients, such as choline and salt, to thrive during pregnancy.

Apart from eating healthy, it is important to drink eight glasses of water daily and take prenatal vitamins. Food alone is not enough to provide sufficient nutrients such as folate, iron, and choline. Talk to your doctor about the prenatal vitamins that you should be taking.

Ask your doctor about supplements

Even if your diet is healthy, it's possible to miss key nutrients. You can fill in any gaps by taking a prenatal vitamin daily, ideally beginning at least three months before conception. Your health care provider may recommend supplements if you are a vegetarian or have a chronic condition.

Your doctor should be consulted before you consider taking herbal supplements during pregnancy. You might find some herbal supplements to be dangerous for your baby.


You and your baby will be healthier if you eat a balanced diet. Consume whole, nutritious foods and limit the intake of processed and fast food.

Your healthcare team can help you create a meal plan that is both enjoyable and practical based on your weight, age, risk factors, and medical history.

Ask your doctor for help if you have any health problems that may prevent you from eating healthy meals or gaining weight. Registered dietitians, the nutrition specialists are available to assist you in maintaining good nutrition during pregnancy.

Also, Read: Do's & Dont's During Pregnancy

with Dr. Shilpa Ghosh


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