For a healthy pregnancy, an expecting mother’s diet needs to be both balanced and nutritious to ensure
that her baby will develop and grow properly while allowing her to maintain a healthy mind and body to
deal with the big changes that are happening to her.
During pregnancy, a woman’s calorie intake grows, requiring about 300 more calories per day than the
amount she would normally consume. The only difference is that her food consumption should have the
right balance of carbohydrates, protein, fats and a wide variety of vegetables and fruits.
Here are what comprises of a healthy diet when pregnant:
1. Fruits and vegetables. Expecting mothers should aim for five portions of fruit and vegetables
daily. They need at least one good source of vitamin C (e.g. strawberries, cauliflower), vitamin A
(e.g. carrots, spinach) and folic acid (e.g. dark green leafy vegetables, legumes) and such can be
found in common fruits and vegetables. One important thing to take note of: the fresher the
produce, the higher the vitamin and nutrient content.
2. Protein. Three servings of protein sources are required for a healthy pregnancy diet as they
contain essential amino acids and are also rich in iron. These include animal-sourced proteins
like meat, poultry and fish or other sources like eggs, beans, nuts and soy products. It has also
been found that indulging in a seafood-rich diet during pregnancy can result to reduced anxiety.
3. Calcium. At least four servings of dairy products (e.g. milk, yoghurt, cheese) and/or calcium-rich
food (e.g. soybeans, kale) is essential in keeping a healthy daily intake of 1000-1300 mg of
calcium during pregnancy.
4. Fiber. Pregnant women have a higher risk of developing constipation. Eating plenty of fiber-rich
food (e.g. wholegrain bread, cereal, rice, pasta, fruits and veggies) can minimize this risk. Fiber
also helps maintain blood sugar levels to a healthy state.
5. Carbohydrates. Increased fatigue from pregnancy can leave pregnant women feeling comatose
but with the help of carbohydrates (e.g. potatoes, rice, pasta, bread), provides them with an
energy boost and antioxidants to keep healthy. Carbs can easily get broken down into glucose
and travels directly to the mom’s cells and thus, essential in protecting the baby from health
problems later in life.
6. Fats. During pregnancy, fats should be consumed sparingly, making up around 25% of a
woman’s daily calories. Monounsaturated fats (e.g. olive oil, sunflower oil, avocadoes, nuts) are
recommended over saturated fats.