Week-wise Pregnancy Nutrition Guidance

Consuming a balanced diet is vital for pregnant women, since it will help the baby to grow healthy and strong. Here are the important food groups:

  • Bread, cereals, rice, noodles
  • Vegetables, legumes
  • Fruits
  • Milk, yoghurt, cheese
  • Meat, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts

Every day, make sure you choose the correct amount of foods from each of the food groups.

Week-1 Eat a balanced diet
Reference:
  1. Nutrition for Pregnancy and Breastfeeding. Available from: http://www.wch.sa.gov.au/services/az/other/nutrition/documents/Nutrition_for_Pregnancy_and_Breastfeeding.pdf.(PDF 1MB) As accessed on: 9/5/2016.

Vitamin D is required for proper absorption of calcium during pregnancy, which is necessary for normal tooth and bone development of the baby. The body generally depends on sunlight exposure to meet its vitamin D requirement; egg yolk, cheese as well as fatty fishes such as tuna and mackerel are good food sources of vitamin D.

References:
  1. Every baby matters. Available from: https://www.bradford.gov.uk/NR/rdonlyres/25FB7D80-E6A0- 40B2-942D-612F3F8EB406/0/3Nutritionguidelinespregnancy.pdf.(PDF 1MB) As accessed on: 9/5/2016.
  2. Top Foods for Calcium and Vitamin D. Last reviewed: 20/3/2016. Available from: http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/guide/calcium-vitamin-d-foods. As accessed on: 9/5/2016.

Weight gain is required for a healthy pregnancy. The weight you gain is mainly composed of placenta, fluid and blood, extra body tissue as well as your developing baby. Majority of the women can expect to gain about 11.5 to 16 kg of weight. Underweight women can gain more weight as compared to those who are overweight. Talk to your doctor about the right amount of weight you need to gain, and eat nutritious foods to match this requirement.

Reference:
  1. Nutrition for Pregnancy and Breastfeeding. Available from: http://www.wch.sa.gov.au/services/az/other/nutrition/documents/Nutrition_for_Pregnancy_and_Breastfeeding.pdf.(PDF 1MB) As accessed on: 9/5/2016.

Prefer eating foods with good amounts of fiber such as –

  • Vegetables and fruits, like green peas, spinach, pears and bananas
  • Whole grains, like brown rice, whole-wheat bread and oatmeal
  • Beans, like black beans and kidney beans
Reference:
  1. Eat Healthy during Pregnancy: Quick tips. Last updated: 25/2/2016. Available from: https://healthfinder.gov/HealthTopics/Category/pregnancy/nutrition-and-physical-activity/eat-healthy-during-pregnancy-quick-tips. As accessed on: 9/5/2016.

Clean, handle, cook and chill food appropriately to prevent foodborne illnesses.

  • Wash fruits and vegetables before eating.
  • Wash cooking utensils with hot, soapy water.
  • Cook meat completely.
  • Wash hand with soap after touching raw meat.
  • Do not let meats, poultry or seafood touch other foods.
Reference:
  1. Pregnancy – Staying healthy and safe. Available from: http://www.womenshealth.gov/pregnancy/you-are-pregnant/staying-healthy-safe.html?_ga=1.208694741.652253839.1462854819#a. As accessed on: 13/5/2016.

The amount of fluids you require every day depends on your activity level, the weather and your size. Drinking about 10 cups of fluids every day has been recommended for pregnant women. You can have fluids like water, and a restricted amount of juices, coffee, tea and soft drinks.

Reference:
  1. Pregnancy – Staying healthy and safe. Available from: http://www.womenshealth.gov/pregnancy/you-are-pregnant/staying-healthy-safe.html?_ga=1.208694741.652253839.1462854819#a. As accessed on: 13/5/2016.

Calcium, which is found in dairy foods, is needed to help your baby build strong bones and keep your bones strong. You should have 3-4 servings of dairy foods each day. One serving includes 250 ml of milk or 40 grams of cheese or 200 grams of yogurt.

Reference:
  1. Nutrition for Pregnancy and Breastfeeding. Available from: http://www.wch.sa.gov.au/services/az/other/nutrition/documents/Nutrition_for_Pregnancy_and_Breastfeeding.pdf.(PDF 1MB) As accessed on: 13/5/2016.

Large amounts of caffeine can be harmful for your baby. Tea, coffee and cola drinks contain caffeine. Avoid drinking more than 3 cups of instant style coffee or 4 small cans (375 ml) cola drinks or 4 cups of tea every day. Remember, energy drinks are not recommended during pregnancy.

Reference:
  1. Nutrition for Pregnancy and Breastfeeding. Available from: http://www.wch.sa.gov.au/services/az/other/nutrition/documents/Nutrition_for_Pregnancy_and_Breastfeeding.pdf.(PDF 1MB) As accessed on: 13/5/2016.

Here are some simple tips to deal with morning sickness :

  • Eat small amounts of food every 1–2 hours, and do not let your stomach get too full or too empty.
  • Do not lie down immediately after eating or drinking.
  • Prefer cold foods over hot ones as they do not have a strong smell.
Reference:
  1. Nutrition for Pregnancy and Breastfeeding. Available from: http://www.wch.sa.gov.au/services/az/other/nutrition/documents/Nutrition_for_Pregnancy_and_Breastfeeding.pdf.(PDF 1MB) As accessed on: 13/5/2016.

Indigestion and heartburn can occur frequently during pregnancy; here are a few tips to avoid these symptoms –

  • Avoid very spicy or fried foods
  • Try drinking between meals instead of with meals
  • Eat slowly and relax during your meal time
  • Avoid eating too late at night
Reference:
  1. Nutrition for Pregnancy and Breastfeeding. Available from: http://www.wch.sa.gov.au/services/az/other/nutrition/documents/Nutrition_for_Pregnancy_and_Breastfeeding.pdf.(PDF 1MB) As accessed on: 13/5/2016.

Folate is important during the very early stages of pregnancy to decrease the possibility of having a baby with a neural tube defect. It is found in green vegetables, wholegrain breads, cereals, dried beans and nuts. However, it might be difficult to get the extra folate during pregnancy with these foods, so adding a folate tablet might be necessary.

Reference:
  1. Nutrition for Pregnancy and Breastfeeding. Available from: http://www.wch.sa.gov.au/services/az/other/nutrition/documents/Nutrition_for_Pregnancy_and_Breastfeeding.pdf.(PDF 1MB) As accessed on: 13/5/2016.

Did you know that you need about 60% more iron during pregnancy as compared to a non-pregnant woman? You need to consume 35 mg of iron daily during pregnancy. Including foods packed with iron such as red meat, poultry, fish, dried beans and peas is vital.

Reference:
  1. RDA 2010. nutrient requirements and recommended dietary allowances for indians a report of the expert group of the Indian council of medical research 2009.

Pregnant women can have at least 2 servings (200 – 300 grams) of fish or shellfish every week. However, some types of fishes can have higher levels of a metal known as mercury, which can be harmful for your baby. Prefer having fish and shellfish such as salmon, shrimp, catfish, and avoid having fishes like shark, king mackerel.

Reference:
  1. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Available from: https://www.acog.org/-/media/For-Patients/faq001.pdf.(PDF 1MB) As accessed on: 13/5/2016.
  • Eat some protein food every day. Various sources of protein are eggs, nuts, poultry and meat, beans as well as pulses.
  • Remove the skin from poultry and try avoiding addition of extra fat or oil while cooking.
  • Make sure your eggs, poultry and meat are cooked all the way through.
Reference:
  1. National Health Service (NHS). Have a healthy diet in pregnancy. Last reviewed: 27/1/2015. Available from: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/healthy-pregnancy-diet.aspx. As accessed on: 13/5/2016.

Vegetables and legumes are good sources of vitamins, minerals, fiber and carbohydrates.

  • Try to include different coloured vegetables since they provide different vitamins and minerals that are important for you and your baby.
  • Prefer having washed, raw salad vegetables such as tomato, cucumber and capsicum.
  • Add legumes such as beans, lentils and chick peas to soups
Reference:
  1. Nutrition for Pregnancy and Breastfeeding. Available from: http://www.wch.sa.gov.au/services/az/other/nutrition/documents/Nutrition_for_Pregnancy_and_Breastfeeding.pdf.(PDF 1MB) As accessed on: 9/5/2016.

Iodine is needed for normal growth of your baby during pregnancy. Also, your iodine requirement increases during pregnancy. It might be difficult to get enough amounts of iodine through food alone. Various food sources of iodine include bread, dairy foods, eggs and iodized salt.

Reference:
  1. Nutrition for Pregnancy and Breastfeeding. Available from: http://www.wch.sa.gov.au/services/az/other/nutrition/documents/Nutrition_for_Pregnancy_and_Breastfeeding.pdf.(PDF 1MB) As accessed on: 9/5/2016.

Most women will need to add at least 300 calories to their meal plan every day at least during the last six months of pregnancy. Always remember that not all calories are equal. Your baby requires healthy food with high levels of nutrients, and not empty calories that are found in candies, desserts and soft drinks.

Reference:
  1. Pregnancy – Staying healthy and safe. Available from: http://www.womenshealth.gov/pregnancy/you-are-pregnant/staying-healthy-safe.html?_ga=1.208694741.652253839.1462854819#a. As accessed on: 13/5/2016.

Many herbal teas are safe during pregnancy, but some of these products might contain herbs like peppermint or red raspberry leaf that could possibly increase the chances of preterm labor. So, prefer having teas with ingredients that you would generally consume, such as orange extract.

Week-18 Drink herbal tea with caution
Reference:
  1. Pregnancy Myths, Dos, and Don'ts. Available from: http://www.webmd.com/baby/pregnancy-myths-dos-donts?page=2#1. As accessed on: 9/5/2016.

Try to avoid snacks that are high in fat or sugar content such as biscuits or sweets, and instead eat something that is healthier, such as –

  • Sandwiches or salad vegetables such as carrot or cucumber
  • Vegetable or bean soups
  • Milky drinks
  • Fresh fruit
Reference:
  1. Have a healthy diet in pregnancy. Last reviewed: 27/1/2015. Available from: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/healthy-pregnancy-diet.aspx. As accessed on: 9/5/2016.

Calcium is a necessity for making your baby's bones and teeth. Some of the foods which are rich in calcium include –

  • Dairy products
  • Green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, spinach
  • Seafood
  • Dried peas and beans

Vitamin D will help your body use calcium properly. You can get sufficient amounts of this nutrient through exposure to the sun as well as by consuming foods like eggs or fish.

References:
  1. National Health Service (NHS). Vitamins and nutrition in pregnancy. Last updated: 22/1/2015. Available from: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/vitamins-minerals-supplements-pregnant.aspx. As accessed on: 9/5/2016.
  2. Increasing Calcium in Your Diet during Pregnancy. Available from: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases_conditions/hic_Am_I_Pregnant/hic_Good_Nutrition_During_Pregnancy_for_You_and_Your_Baby/hic_Increasing_Calcium_in_Your_Diet_During_Pregnancy. As accessed on: 9/5/2016.
  • Vitamin B1 increases your energy levels: Food sources include whole grain, eggs, rice, nuts, legumes, pork
  • Vitamin B2 is good for eye sight and healthy skin: Food sources include meats, poultry, fish, dairy products, eggs
  • Vitamin B6 helps with morning sickness: Food sources include chicken, fish, eggs, soybeans, carrots, cabbage, peas, spinach, bananas, beans, brown rice, oats, walnuts
Reference:
  1. American Pregnancy Association (APA). Nutrients & Vitamins for Pregnancy. Last updated: December 2015. Available from: http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/nutrients-vitamins-pregnancy/. As accessed on: 9/5/2016.
  • Wash fruits, vegetables properly to remove all traces of soil.
  • Heat ready-to-eat meals until they are piping hot, particularly when your meal contains poultry.
  • Keep leftovers covered in the fridge and consume them within 2 days.
  • Wash all surfaces, utensils and your hands after preparing raw meat.
Reference:
  1. National Health Service (NHS). The Pregnancy Book. Available from: https://www.stgeorges.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Pregnancy_Book_comp.pdf.(PDF 1MB) As accessed on: 9/5/2016.

You might need to vary your diet pattern as your pregnancy progresses.

  • During the first trimester, choose a snack for breakfast and a large evening meal if you suffer from morning sickness.
  • During the last trimester, select a larger breakfast and a light evening snack when you experience heartburn more frequently.
Reference:
  1. A Pregnant Woman's Daily Diet. Available from: http://www.webmd.com/women/features/pregnant-daily-diet. As accessed on: 9/5/2016.

Even though the vitamin A needs increase during pregnancy, vitamin A supplementation is generally not needed for pregnant women. This is because high levels of vitamin A can lead to birth abnormalities. The common food sources of vitamin A include milk, fish, eggs and margarine.

Week-24 Maintain your vitamin A levels
Reference:
  1. Pregnancy and diet. Available from: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/pregnancy-and-diet. As accessed on: 9/5/2016.

You should avoid these foods since they might be contaminated by bacteria –

  • Undercooked meat, poultry and seafood such as meat spreads or smoked fish
  • All foods prepared with raw or lightly cooked eggs
  • Unpasteurized milk products
  • Raw sprouts such as mung beans
Reference:
  1. The Sensible Guide to a healthy pregnancy. Available from: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/hp-gs/pdf/hpguide-eng.pdf.(PDF 1MB) As accessed on: 9/5/2016.

Sodium, which is a part of salt, has to be limited during pregnancy. Healthy eating during pregnancy will provide you and your baby with enough amounts of sodium. Remember to limit intake of foods and drinks containing added salt. Do not add salt to foods while cooking and try to avoid using table salts.

Reference:
  1. Healthy eating during your pregnancy: Advice for eating for youyou’re your baby. Available from: https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/sites/default/files/files/the_guidelines/n55h_healthy_eating_during_pregnancy.pdf.(PDF 1MB) As accessed on: 9/5/2016.

It’s always important to wash off the soil from vegetables and fruits. And it’s even more important when you are pregnant, since soil carries germs (called “toxoplasma”) that can cause toxoplasmosis, which could cause harm to your baby.

Reference:
  1. NHS. The Pregnancy Book. Available from: https://www.stgeorges.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Pregnancy_Book_comp.pdf.(PDF 1MB)

Are you a non-vegetarian or an eggetarian? Then while you’re pregnant, make sure you cook your eggs till the whites and the yellows are solid and firm, and cook your meats so that there is no pink/trace of blood. Some people like to eat “rare steaks” or other meats, and that is ok as long as the outside is cooked properly.

Reference:
  1. NHS. The Pregnancy Book. Available from: https://www.stgeorges.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Pregnancy_Book_comp.pdf.(PDF 1MB)

Earlier, doctors used to recommend that women avoid eating peanuts (moongaphalee) while they were pregnant, because the baby could develop an allergy to it. However, many studies have now shown that there is no clear evidence that links allergies to these nuts. So, you can go ahead and have those peanuts, but do it as a part of a healthy diet (unless you have an allergy or your doctor tells you to avoid it).

Reference:
  1. NHS. The Pregnancy Book. Available from: https://www.stgeorges.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Pregnancy_Book_comp.pdf.(PDF 1MB)

While a vegetarian diet is healthy and provides many of the essential nutrients, it may be deficient in vitamin B12. So if you are a vegan or vegetarian, talk to your doctor about whether you need additional vitamin B12 supplements.

Week-30 Vegetarian? Then talk B12
Reference:
  1. NHS. The Pregnancy Book. Available from: https://www.stgeorges.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Pregnancy_Book_comp.pdf.(PDF 1MB)

It’s difficult not to feel hungry in between meals! But instead of reaching for that sugary, calorie-filled snack, here are some healthy options instead:

  • vegetable sticks with hummus
  • beans on toast
  • fresh fruit
  • a salad
  • low-fat yogurt
Reference:
  1. NHS. The Pregnancy Book. Available from: https://www.stgeorges.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Pregnancy_Book_comp.pdf.(PDF 1MB)

Your doctor must have told you to avoid caffeine, or limit it to less than 200 mg a day when you are pregnant. Now, you probably already know that 2 mugs of instant coffee would equal 200 mg of caffeine. But did you know that even chocolate, tea and cola contain caffeine?

You can also reach your limit of 200 mg of caffeine with

  • 2 mugs of tea + 1 can of cola
  • 1 bar (50 gm) of plain chocolate + 1 mug of filter coffee
  • 1 mug of instant coffee + 1 can of energy drink
Reference:
  1. NHS. The Pregnancy Book. Available from: https://www.stgeorges.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Pregnancy_Book_comp.pdf.(PDF 1MB)

If you drink alcohol when you are pregnant, the alcohol passes from you, through the placenta, to your baby. Since the baby’s liver develops towards the end of pregnancy, your baby cannot process the alcohol well. Too much alcohol can cause serious defects in the baby.
Even women who are trying to get pregnant should preferably avoid alcohol.

Reference:
  1. NHS. The Pregnancy Book. Available from: https://www.stgeorges.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Pregnancy_Book_comp.pdf.(PDF 1MB)

If you had diabetes before you got pregnant, it’s particularly important to control and keep track of your blood sugar during this time. Talk to your doctor about the diet and the amount of physical activity that is best for you. Avoid rapid spikes in your blood sugar.

Reference:
  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Do’s and Don’ts. Available from: http://womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/pregnancy-dos-donts.pdf.(PDF 1MB)

That should be your aim every day – 5 portions of fruits and vegetables.

One portion is equal to:

  • 1/2 cup carrots or onions
  • 1 cup of cabbage or lettuce
  • 1 cup of spinach or broccoli
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 1/2 cup of sprouted beans
  • 1 medium apple
  • 1 medium pear
  • 160 ml pure fruit or vegetable juice
Reference:
  1. WHO. Healthy Eating during Pregnancy and Breastfeeding. 2001. Available from: http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/120296/E73182.pdf.(PDF 1MB)

You and your growing baby need vitamin C. But the body cannot store vitamin C. This means that you daily diet must contain fruits and vegetables that are rich in vitamin C.

Here are some sources for your daily vitamin C dose:

  • 160 g of cabbage
  • 3 medium potatoes
  • 1 large pepper
  • 50 g Black-eyed beans
  • 70 g Mung beans

Since vitamin C can be lost while cooking, cook vegetables only for 5-10 minutes in minimum boiling water.

Week-36 A daily dose of Vitamin C
Reference:
  1. WHO. Healthy Eating during Pregnancy and Breastfeeding. 2001. Available from: http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/120296/E73182.pdf.(PDF 1MB)

Well, unlike what people may think, high-fat, creamy dairy and milk products are not a better alternative to low-fat dairy products. So, as far as possible, choose low-fat milk products since they contain protein and calcium, but with less fat. This makes it good for all the adults in the family, pregnant or not!

Reference:
  1. WHO. Healthy Eating during Pregnancy and Breastfeeding. 2001. Available from: http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/120296/E73182.pdf.(PDF 1MB)

It is recommended that you cut down on your tea and coffee intake when you are pregnant. But if you do want to have a cup of tea, have it in-between meals and not with a meal, since tea and coffee contains substances that could interfere with your body absorbing the iron from the food.

Reference:
  1. WHO. Healthy Eating during Pregnancy and Breastfeeding. 2001. Available from: http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/120296/E73182.pdf.(PDF 1MB)

On one hand, iron is very important for you and your baby while you are pregnant. But many women have constipation when they are pregnant, and iron supplements can sometimes cause or make constipation worse. If you notice this happening with you, talk to your doctor about it.

Reference:
  1. WHO. Healthy Eating during Pregnancy and Breastfeeding. 2001. Available from: http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/120296/E73182.pdf.(PDF 1MB)

If you consider yourself a non-vegetarian, keep in mind the following rules while cooking your meats, to reduce your chances of falling ill due to handling or cooking practices

  • Make sure your frozen meats are completely defrosted before you cook it
  • Thoroughly wash your hands and kitchen surfaces after coming in contact with raw meat
  • Make sure juices from raw meat do not drip onto other foods in the fridge
Week-40 For non-vegetarians only
Reference:
  1. WHO. Healthy Eating during Pregnancy and Breastfeeding. 2001. Available from: http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/120296/E73182.pdf.(PDF 1MB)