Dos and Donts of Diet during Pregnancy

What to adopt and what to avoid as diet during pregnancy. A balanced diet that include foods from all food groups is the best for the mother and baby's nutrition.

Editorial Team
PregnancyWritten by: Editorial TeamPublished at: Mar 09, 2011
Dos and Donts of Diet during Pregnancy

A balanced and a nutritious diet throughout your pregnancy will help nourish your body and that of the fetus. But a rich calorie diet before and during the pregnancy by an expectant mother may make her baby weigh more than normal during birth.


Pre-pregnancy and pregnancy diet should be nutritious and rich in essential vitamins and minerals as they are the driving force behind the baby growth and development. A diet which lacks any of the essential nutrients will result in health issues in the baby and low birth weight.


Your caloric intake should increase during your pregnancy by 300 calories, while daily calorie need of a woman is 2200 calories it increases to 2500 during pregnancy. A woman having a twins or a multiple pregnancy will need to have more calorie intake, so, it is always advisable to consult a doctor regarding your diet as it will vary with age, situation, height and weight.


It is important that a balanced diet should be started before conception as to prepare for the body for a pregnancy and it is more important to continue to eat healthy through the nine months.


When you are expecting it is important to eat healthy and balanced diet and develop healthy eating habits. For mum’s with poor eating habits this becomes more important. You have to remember that besides adequate calories you need to increase your intake of certain vitamins and minerals (such as folic acid and iron) during pregnancy. And junk gives you empty calories (calories with few or no nutrients).


How many calories?


Most people will tell you to eat for two when you are pregnant---but this is a wrong advice. If you are healthy and at a healthy weight you do not need any extra calories for the first three months of pregnancy. For the next six months of pregnancy you need only about 200 -300 extra calories per day. That means just two extra rotis without ghee, a medium katori (bowl) of chole or rajma, 3-4 idlis, or 2-3 aloo tikkis.


Follow your appetite as this is a good indicator of how much food you need to eat. Your appetite may vary during the course of your pregnancy—it is absolutely normal. In the first few weeks you may not feel like eating due to nausea or morning sickness. In the second and third trimester your appetite will probably increase.


Don't worry about your changing appetite ---eat healthy and well balanced diet through out your pregnancy.


Choose your food wisely


As your baby is growing inside you--- eating healthy and well balanced diet is very important. Forget food fads, junk foods, binge eating, and dieting. You need good proper nutrition--- that means three balanced meals and 1-2 snacks a day.


To get a balanced nutrition it is important to choose foods from all food groups ---that includes cereals, pulses, poultry and meat, milk and milk products, fruits and vegetables. Eating a varied diet will give you the entire nutrient that you need. Your daily diet should consist of food from all the major food groups.

  • Milk and dairy products: Use low fat or non fat dairy products (milk, yogurt, cheese). Dairy products are rich in calcium, vitamin B12 and protein. All these are important both for you and your baby. If you are lactose sensitive consult your doctor for alternatives.
  • Use of foods prepared from whole grains like brown rice, whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, barley, oat meal should be preferred. Refined or highly processed cereals lack fiber and many vitamins and minerals.
  • Fruits and vegetables: Include a wide range of bright colored fruits and vegetables (green, yellow, orange) as they have plenty of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
  • Meat/Fish/Poultry: Eat fish, chicken and other lean meat. A...

Read Next