Important Tips on How to Eat Right While Pregnant

Important Tips on How to Eat Right While Pregnant

As beautiful as it is, pregnancy places some demands on your body. Your baby begins life. Your needs take precedence over yours. Your baby needs a lot of nutrients to grow. If the nutrients you need are not available in your diet, some of them will be taken from your body. A lack of nutrition during pregnancy therefore puts both you and your baby at risk. Popular wisdom says that one should “eat for two”. Well, not literally. But you must change your diet. Proper nutrition during pregnancy is necessary to ensure your baby develops healthily.

The important things first

You need a balanced diet that provides all the necessary nutrients for your baby’s growth. This includes energy, protein, vitamins, minerals, etc. When planning your diet, you need to consider the following.

Energy. It takes about 75,000 calories to have a child! You will need to consume about 300 extra calories per day during your pregnancy. Avoid empty calories like butter, dressings, jelly and jam. Opt for healthy calories like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, etc.

Protein. Protein is the basic building block of the body. A good portion of your extra 300 calories should come from protein. Protein-rich foods (lean meat, poultry, beans, peanuts) should be included in your meals on a regular basis.

Calcium.Essential for bones and teeth. Your calcium requirements increase significantly during pregnancy. You need 1000-1300 mg of calcium per day. Low-fat dairy, tofu, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, and sardines are good sources. Consider supplementing if you’re not getting enough.

Iron.Essential to ensure you and your baby get enough oxygen. You need about 27 mg daily. Sources are green leafy vegetables, lean meat and poultry.

folic acid.This is the hard part. You need folic acid In front pregnancy and in the first month. It reduces the risk of having a baby with serious brain and spinal cord defects. While meeting this requirement becomes difficult with an unplanned pregnancy, it’s important to start early. Food sources include green leafy vegetables, veal, and legumes. Try adding a supplement if you’re not getting enough (minimum is 0.4mg per day).

weight gain

Gaining weight during pregnancy is essential for the baby’s growth. You must gain 25-30 pounds during pregnancy if you are of normal body type. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), you need to gain 28 to 40 pounds if you were underweight before pregnancy and 15 to 25 pounds if you were overweight. However, if you gain more than 35-40 pounds, you and the baby will gain extra weight. It increases your risk of high blood pressure, gestational diabetes and puts the baby at greater risk of long-term disease. A steady weight gain of 2-4 pounds per month during the first trimester and 3-4 pounds per month thereafter is ideal.

Tips for a healthy diet

The best way to get everything you need is to eat a balanced diet. Frequent, small meals are better than 2-3 large meals a day (better absorption and less bloating). You can build your nutrition plan around the following.

  • fruits and vegetables 5-9 servings – Excellent sources of vitamins, minerals (iron, calcium, etc.) and trace elements. Their soluble fiber helps maintain good digestion and avoid constipation.
  • Wholegrain 6-11 servings – Provide protein, energy, fiber and important minerals such as magnesium. Eat whole grains as most of the nutrients are found in the outer shell of the grain.
  • Protein foods such as meat, poultry, fish, legumes 3 servings – Choose lean meat to limit fat intake. Add fish as it contains omega-3 fats which are essential for baby’s brain. It also helps in lowering the chances of postpartum depression.
  • Low fat dairy products 4-5 servings – Excellent source of calcium and protein.
  • Monosaturated fats – An essential building block. Since you need to limit fats to about 30% of your daily caloric intake, stick to healthy monosaturated fats in your diet. Nuts are an excellent source.
  • liquids 6-8 glasses a day in a colder climate, more if you exercise or lose fluid through sweating – Your body needs to build the required blood volume and maintain a healthy amount of amniotic fluid in addition to meeting daily needs. Water, juice (no added sugar), low-fat dairy, soda are good ways to get it. Avoid sugary, carbonated, or caffeinated drinks.

Avoiding some common problems

Your body makes several adjustments as the baby grows. Some of them are not very pleasant. Following the right eating plan can go a long way in overcoming some common problems.

nausea in the morning.Eat smaller meals, more frequently throughout the day. Avoid greasy, oily, spicy or fried foods. It will make your morning sickness worse. Snack frequently between meals. Try combining fruits/vegetables with protein (carrot with peanut butter, fruit with yogurt).

Constipation.More soluble fiber helps, so plenty of fluids. Whole grains, fruits and vegetables are good bets.

Hypertension.A common problem in pregnancy. To avoid a flare-up, limit your salt intake. A balanced diet will provide you with all the sodium you need (so you don’t have to add salt to the food). To cut back on your salt intake without losing flavor, try adding black pepper or lemon juice to your food to enhance flavor.

Diabetes.Your body’s need for insulin increases 2-3 times during pregnancy. If you don’t get enough insulin or if the insulin isn’t working properly (e.g. due to obesity), you are likely to get high blood sugar levels. Left unchecked, it can cause serious harm to your baby. Eat small, frequent meals throughout the day to maintain stable sugar levels. Avoid excessive sugar and sugary drinks.


Pregnancy can intensify existing allergies and trigger new ones. If you suspect foods are involved, look out for items that make the symptoms worse. Allergy symptoms typically appear immediately after eating, but no later than 2 hours. This makes it easier to identify the food in question. Try eliminating some of the known allergenic foods from your diet and see if it helps. Usual suspects are:

  • Seafood. Especially shellfish such as crab, lobster, shrimp, etc.
  • Peanuts/Peanut Butter. As one of the most allergenic foods in the world, they can also contain aflatoxins, which are among the most potent carcinogens known to man.
  • Nuts. Almonds, walnuts, etc.
  • tomatoes
  • Fish. Fish, which are higher up the food chain, also tend to accumulate pollutants. There are several health warnings regarding high levels of mercury in tuna.
  • Food Additives, Colors, Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), Preservatives. MSG can also have the added problem of being a neurotoxin. Animal studies have shown its ability to damage the nervous system of infants.
  • Fruit.Strawberries and pineapples are the best candidates, along with tropical fruits like melons.


If symptoms such as upset stomach, cramps, indigestion, diarrhea and bloating occur more than 2 hours after eating, you likely have a food intolerance and not an allergy. Main suspects are:

  • Milk and dairy products containing lactose.Try low-lactose foods like hard cheese, yogurt, lactose-free, calcium-fortified milk. Tofu is also a good substitute, although you should limit the amount of soy products you eat. They contain phytoestrogens, which can be harmful to you and your baby if consumed in excess.
  • Wheat and other grains containing gluten.
  • Corn products and products containing corn starch.


To make sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need, consider taking supplements (especially a good prenatal vitamin). All supplements are not created equal. Discuss with your doctor which product meets your specific needs.

Final Thoughts

Pregnancy is a special and beautiful phase of your life. A healthy lifestyle and diet not only helps you avoid problems, but also makes it a better experience. Eat right during pregnancy, lead a healthy lifestyle and most importantly, enjoy this beautiful time.

Thanks to Dr Kevin Lau D.C.


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