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Diet During Pregnancy - A Complete Guide
Diet During Pregnancy - A Complete Guide

Video: Diet During Pregnancy - A Complete Guide

Video: Diet During Pregnancy - A Complete Guide
Video: A Dietitian's Guide To Eating During Each Trimester of Pregnancy | You Versus Food | Well+Good 2023, June

Healthy eating is important at all times in life, but it is especially vital if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Eating a balanced diet for all nine months will help your baby develop and grow normally. Eating a variety of different foods each day is essential to get the right amount of nutrients, especially if you are a vegan mom-to-be. In this article, we take stock of allowed and prohibited foods, the healthy month-to-month menu, portion sizes, lactation-boosting foods, and many other details you need to pay attention to while waiting for your baby to appear. tiny.

Should You Double Your Diet During Pregnancy Or Is It A Myth?

healthy diet during pregnancy diet expecting mothers
healthy diet during pregnancy diet expecting mothers

You will likely find that you are more hungry than usual during pregnancy. However, you don't need to "eat for 2" even if you are expecting twins or triplets. First and foremost, try to eat a healthy breakfast every day as this can save you from snacking on finger foods that are high in fat and sugar.

A pregnant woman needs more calcium, folic acid, iron and protein than every other woman. This is why these four nutrients are important.

Folic acid

Also known as folate when the nutrient is found in food, folic acid is a B vitamin that is essential to help prevent birth defects in a baby's brain and spinal cord called neural tube defects.

It can indeed be difficult to get the recommended amount of vitamin B8 from the diet during pregnancy alone. For this reason, doctors advise women who are expecting a baby to increase the amount to 600 mg per day using a daily prenatal supplement.

Food sources: green leafy vegetables, fortified cereals, breads and pastas, beans, citrus fruits.

diet during pregnancy beans source folic acid
diet during pregnancy beans source folic acid


This mineral is used to build baby's bones and teeth. Pregnant women 19 years of age and over need 1000 mg of calcium per day. If a woman does not consume enough, the mineral will be taken from the mother's stores in her bones and given to the fetus to meet her requirements.

What to eat: milk, yogurt, cheese, juice and foods fortified with calcium, sardines and salmon with bones, certain leafy vegetables (kale, bok choy).

The iron

Pregnant women need 27 mg of iron per day, which is double the amount that other women need. The microelement is of great importance for the production of blood and the supply of oxygen to the baby. Getting too little iron during pregnancy can lead to anemia, a condition that leads to fatigue and an increased risk of infections.

Foods rich in iron: meat, poultry, fish, dried beans and peas, cereals fortified with iron.

rich foods iron meat steak diet mom-to-be
rich foods iron meat steak diet mom-to-be


In fact, most women don't have a problem getting enough protein-rich foods from their diet. These help build important organs for the baby, such as the brain and heart for example.

Food sources: meat, poultry, fish, beans and dry peas, eggs, nuts, tofu.

Foods to favor on your mother-to-be's plate

foods favor daily menu pregnant woman
foods favor daily menu pregnant woman

Diet during pregnancy aims to eat nutritious foods most of the time. To maximize the benefits of prenatal nutrition, focus on the following five food groups: fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and dairy products. In general, experts recommend filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables, a quarter with whole grains and a quarter with a lean protein source, and also have a dairy product at every meal.

Fruits and vegetables

Pregnant women should focus on fruits and vegetables, especially during the second and third trimester. So get between five and ten servings of products the size of a tennis ball every day. These colorful foods are low in calories and packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals.

Lean protein

During pregnancy, women should include good sources of protein with each of their meals to support the growth of the baby. Foods high in protein include meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, tofu, cheese, milk, nuts, and seeds.

diet during pregnancy lean protein sources tofu
diet during pregnancy lean protein sources tofu

Whole grains

These foods are an important source of energy and also provide fiber, iron and B vitamins. At least half of the carbohydrates a pregnant woman gets each day should come from whole grains, such as oatmeal, pasta, whole wheat bread and brown rice.

Dairy products

Aim for 3 to 4 servings of dairy products per day for a good quality pregnancy diet. Milk, yogurt, cheese, and homemade kefir are good dietary sources of calcium, protein, and vitamin D.

Foods to avoid during pregnancy

Foods avoid pregnant woman sweets fat
Foods avoid pregnant woman sweets fat


Avoid alcohol during pregnancy. This, concentrated in the mother's blood, can pass directly to the baby through the umbilical cord and is associated with premature delivery, intellectual disability, birth defects and low birth weight.


Limit caffeine to no more than 300 mg per day. A 230ml cup of coffee has around 150mg on average, while black tea typically has around 80mg. Finally, remember that chocolate (especially dark chocolate) also contains caffeine - sometimes a significant amount.

Synthetic sweeteners

The use of saccharin is strongly discouraged during pregnancy as it can cross the placenta and remain in fetal tissue. Some of the approved artificial sweeteners for consumption during pregnancy are aspartame, acesulfame-K, and sucralose. The latter are considered safe if taken in moderation.


Reduce the total amount of fat you eat to 30% or less of your total daily calories. For a person whose calorie intake is 2000 per day, that would be 65 g of fat or less.

Fish with high levels of mercury

Fish such as swordfish, shark, king mackerel, marlin, orange roughy, and tilefish are high in methylmercury and should be avoided during pregnancy. In fact, it is a toxic chemical that can cross the placenta and be harmful to a baby's brain, kidneys, and nervous system.

foods to avoid pregnancy fish rich in mercury
foods to avoid pregnancy fish rich in mercury

Unpasteurized foods

Pregnant women are at high risk for two types of food poisoning - listeriosis, caused by Listeria bacteria, and toxoplasmosis, an infection caused by a parasite, from eating unpasteurized food. In the list of prohibited foods are:

  • unpasteurized (raw) milk and foods prepared from it, such as feta, brie, camembert, blue cheese, queso blanco and queso fresco
  • hot dogs, cold meats, and cold cuts that haven't been treated to kill the bacteria in them
  • store-bought deli salads, such as ham salad, chicken salad (Caesar), tuna salad, and seafood salad
  • unpasteurized refrigerated spreads or meat pies

Certain foods in raw state

A mother can pass a toxoplasmosis infection to her baby, which can cause problems such as blindness and mental disability later in life. To prevent these health problems, it is recommended to avoid the following foods during pregnancy:

  • raw or undercooked meat and poultry
  • raw fish like sushi, sashimi, ceviche and carpaccio
  • raw or undercooked shellfish such as clams, mussels, oysters and scallops
foods raw state to avoid during pregnancy menu expectant mother
foods raw state to avoid during pregnancy menu expectant mother

Certain foods can increase a pregnant woman's risk of other types of food poisoning, including illnesses caused by salmonella and E. coli bacteria.

  • raw or undercooked eggs (poached eggs)
  • foods containing undercooked eggs such as raw cookie dough, tiramisu, chocolate mousse, homemade ice cream, eggnog, hollandaise sauce
  • raw or undercooked sprouts such as alfalfa, clover
  • unpasteurized juice

What to eat during pregnancy if you are not feeling well?

foods to favor morning sickness pregnant woman
foods to favor morning sickness pregnant woman

During the nine months, you may have morning sickness, diarrhea, or constipation. You may find it hard not to eat, or you may feel too sick to even eat. Here are some suggestions:

  • Morning sickness: eat crackers, cereal or pretzels before getting out of bed; eat small, frequent meals throughout the day; avoid fatty, fried and spicy foods.
  • Prevent constipation: eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. Also, drink 6 to 8 glasses of water a day. Taking fiber supplements can help.
  • Diarrhea: Eat more foods that contain pectin and gums (two types of dietary fiber) to help absorb excess water. Examples of these foods are applesauce, bananas, white rice, oatmeal, and refined wheat bread.
  • Heartburn: snack on small, frequent meals throughout the day; try to drink milk before eating; Limit caffeinated foods and drinks, citrus drinks, and spicy foods.

Servings recommended for pregnant women

recommended portions healthy pregnancy future mom
recommended portions healthy pregnancy future mom
  • 8 to 8 and a half servings from the bread, cereal, rice, pasta, noodles group - an example of 1 serving is 1 slice of bread, ½ medium bun, ½ cup of cooked rice, pasta or noodles, ½ cup of porridge cooked or a cup of cereal flakes for breakfast.
  • 15 g of poly or monounsaturated fats and oils per day.
  • 5 servings from the vegetable and legume group - an example of 1 serving is 75 g or ½ cup cooked vegetables, ½ cup cooked dried beans, canned peas, lentils or beans, 1 cup green vegetables, 1 small potato.
  • 2 servings of fruit - an example of 1 serving is 1 medium apple, 150 g of fruit (apricots, kiwi fruit, plums), 1 cup of diced fruit, ½ cup of fruit juice, 1 ½ tablespoons of raisins.
  • 2 ½ to 3 ½ servings from the milk, yogurt, cheese group - an example of 1 serving is 250 ml of milk, 250 ml of calcium fortified soy beverage, 40 g of cheese, 200 g of yogurt.
  • 3 and a half servings from the group meat, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts - an example of 1 serving is 65 g of cooked meat or chicken, 100 g of cooked fish fillet, 30 g of nuts, 2 large eggs.

Diet during pregnancy - sample daily menu

example healthy daily menu during pregnancy
example healthy daily menu during pregnancy

The following sample menu will give you an idea of what a pregnant woman should generally consume in a day for a healthy and balanced diet during pregnancy. Three small meals and three light snacks are a good rule of thumb to make sure your baby's nutritional needs are met.

Breakfast: oatmeal, banana, 1 slice of whole wheat toast, 2 teaspoons of jam, 1 cup of skim milk

Snack: 1 cup of yogurt, grapes

Lunch: cooked turkey and cheese sandwich with whole wheat bread, pear and 1 cup of skim milk

Snack: raw vegetables and a low calorie dip

Dinner: 120 g of cooked chicken, 1 cup of wild rice, 1 cup of vegetables, 1 cup of skimmed milk

Snack: fresh fruit or low-fat frozen yogurt

pregnant woman breakfast snack idea
pregnant woman breakfast snack idea

Healthy snacks

If you are hungry between meals, don't eat snacks that are high in fat and / or sugar, such as candy, cookies, chips, or chocolate. Instead, choose from the following nutritious snacks:

  • small sandwich with grated cheese, grilled chicken, mashed tuna, salmon, sardines, green salad
  • vegetable salad such as carrot, celery or cucumber
  • low fat hummus with a little bread
  • apricots, figs or prunes
  • vegetable soups
  • unsweetened cereal with milk
  • milk drinks or unsweetened fruit juice
  • fresh fruit
  • a baked potato

List of foods and supplements to favor month by month (0-9)

which foods microelements supplements during pregnancy
which foods microelements supplements during pregnancy

Month 1 of pregnancy

  • Foods rich in folate: green leafy vegetables (spinach, arugula, parsley), whole grains and legumes (lentils, beans, chickpeas)
  • Vitamin B6: 40 mg twice daily supplementation is an effective natural treatment to reduce nausea and vomiting

Month 2 of pregnancy

  • Ginger in the form of infusion or spice against nausea
  • Vitamin E as a supplement and with food (raw almonds, avocado, olive oil, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, egg yolk)

Month 3 of pregnancy

Make sure you drink at least 10 glasses of water every day, as well as eat fruits and vegetables filled with fluids to keep you and your baby hydrated.

Month 4 of pregnancy

  • Foods rich in iron - eggs, meats, leafy greens, legumes
  • Vitamin C - fruits, vegetables and supplements

Month 5 of pregnancy

  • Calcium: small bony fish such as sardines, almonds, green leafy vegetables, dairy products
  • Vitamin C: broccoli, oranges, tomatoes
source vegetables vitamin c diet during pregnancy
source vegetables vitamin c diet during pregnancy

Month 6 of pregnancy

To prevent constipation, aim for 25-30g of fiber each day. This is roughly equivalent to 5 large apples, 2 cups of legumes, or 2 cups of wheat bran. Additionally, try taking 1 tablespoon of psyllium mixed in a glass of water before bed, to promote a healthy bowel movement the next morning.

Month 7 of pregnancy

Protein: Most women need around 80g of protein per day for a healthy pregnancy without complications. Diets low in protein can increase a baby's chances of developing high blood pressure later in life.

Month 8 of pregnancy

Omega-3 fatty acids: Baby's brain growth and development is fastest in the third trimester, so focus on including sources of omega-3 in your diet, such as fatty fish like salmon., nuts and seeds.

Month 9 of pregnancy

  • Garlic: Consuming garlic during the last month of pregnancy is correlated with a significantly reduced risk of preterm delivery.
  • Dates: Consuming 6 dates per day for the last 4 weeks before the due date appears to encourage greater cervical dilation, a faster first stage, and a decreased need for medical intervention during pregnancy. delivery.
  • Raisins: Eating 2 handfuls of raisins per week is linked to a reduced risk of preterm labor, demonstrating a similar effect to garlic.

Diet during pregnancy to stimulate lactation

diet during pregnancy stimulate breast milk
diet during pregnancy stimulate breast milk

Nutrition during pregnancy is also important for postnatal lactation. Some of the foods below are full of vitamins and minerals and others contain chemical properties that are believed to promote and support a healthy supply of breast milk.

Whole grains

Whole grains are very nutritious for mothers-to-be who feel they are breastfeeding fully. They are also believed to have properties that support the hormones responsible for making breast milk. So, eating these superfoods for the nine months can have a favorable effect in this context. You can try for example barley, brown rice, oatmeal cookies, quinoa salad and other whole grain dishes.

Dark green vegetables

Dark green leafy vegetables such as alfalfa, lettuce, kale, spinach, and broccoli are packed with nutrients, especially calcium. They also contain phytoestrogens which can have a positive effect on the production of breast milk.


The bulb, stem, and leaves of the fennel plant are edible and you can add them to soups, stews, or other recipes. Plant estrogen in fennel can help mothers produce more milk.

fennel plant stimulate breast milk production
fennel plant stimulate breast milk production


Garlic is a healthy addition to every diet. It is a galactagogue, helping women produce more breast milk. Even though this vegetable has a strong odor that gets into the milk, it seems that some infants like the taste. You can add garlic to your diet during pregnancy by using it to flavor many dishes, including vegetables, meats, seafood, pasta, and sauces.


In fact, since Egyptian times, women have eaten chickpeas to have more milk for their babies. These vegetables contain plant estrogen which may be responsible for this galactagogue action. You can add chickpeas to pasta or salads. Hummus, a delicious spread made with chickpeas, is another way to enjoy this super healthy bean.

Sesame seeds

Rich in calcium and with estrogen-like properties, you can eat sesame seeds on their own, as an ingredient in recipes, as a garnish for salads, or as an addition to some baked goods.

sesame seeds food stimulate lactation expectant mother
sesame seeds food stimulate lactation expectant mother


Nuts, especially raw almonds, are healthy and high in protein and calcium. Many expectant mothers choose to eat almonds or drink almond milk to increase the creaminess and sweetness, and the amount of their breast milk.

Linseed and linseed oil

Indeed, flax seeds contain phytoestrogens which can influence the production of breast milk. Absolutely to include in ground condition in your breakfast smoothies!

Fresh ginger root

Fresh ginger and ginger tea can increase breast milk production. You can easily add this root to any dishes you cook or drink ginger water. Although it is considered a safe food, it is recommended to consult your doctor before increasing its consumption.


Brewer's yeast is a very healthy addition to your diet during pregnancy that contains B vitamins, iron, protein, chromium, selenium and other minerals. Apart from its stimulating effect on lactation, it gives energy, promotes good humor and keeps postpartum depression apart.

Nursing teas

Breastfeeding tea may contain a single herb or a combination of herbs that work together to support and increase lactation. The plants in question include fenugreek, blessed thistle, milk thistle and fennel.

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