Updated: 2019, May 7

Pregnancy Diet- What Foods Should Be Consumed During Pregnancy?

By - Reviewed by CHD Team
What to Eat During Pregnancy
Q: I’m sick of eating salads from last few weeks. Although I know I can’t have tuna sandwiches and turkey which I love to have before I became pregnant. I’m outta ideas for what I can include as a healthy diet during pregnancy? Plz suggest me some healthy foods for pregnancy.
Expert Answer

Because pregnant mothers cannot just all gobble up what they want to eat and what they used to eat, keeping a healthy meal plan during pregnancy is a challenging undertaking. This article is a quick diet guide to mothers on how to eat right when pregnant.

Recommended Meal Plan for Pregnant Mothers

Generally speaking, a pregnant mother daily diet should consist the following:

  • 5 servings of fruits and vegetables (opt for dark-colored fruits and vegetables)
  • 6 servings of whole grains and cereals
  • 3 servings of milk and/or milk products
  • Up to 3 servings of extra-lean meats
  • 8 glasses of water

Important: On the whole, the term ‘serving’ indicates a single piece of fruit or vegetable or one-half cup of sliced fruits and vegetables.

What to Eat to Alleviate Pregnancy Symptoms?

Meal planning during the first trimester of pregnancy can be very formidable mainly because it is during this period that mothers experience the notorious signs and symptoms of pregnancy. Take a look of some of the suggested healthy meal plans for pregnant mothers.

  • Morning Sickness – Dieticians advise to only consume light meal or snack during breakfast, and take large meals during evening.
  • Heartburn – Pregnant mothers who have heartburns should consume larger meal in breakfast and light recipes in dinner.
  • Constipation – To manage hard-to-pass stools, mothers should eat more fruits and vegetables which are high in fiber, and increase oral fluid intake daily.
  • Diarrhea – To decrease frequency of bowel movements, pregnant mothers should eat foods containing gums or pectin. These are common dietary fibers that help absorb water from the GI tract, thus reducing the passing of watery stools. Remember the BRAT diet which stands for Banana, Rice, Applesauce and Toast.

What To Eat and What Not to Eat During Pregnancy?

What to Eat Implications
Folic Acid Supplements Folic acid is essential to prevent neural tube defects.
Multivitamins Besides folic acid supplements, prenatal multivitamins thwart pregnancy complications particularly pre-eclampsia.
Protein Protein is important for cellular function. Insufficient intake of protein during pregnancy results in poor fetal growth and hypertension in the child’s later life.
Iron Mothers who are pregnant need to increase their iron intake by 50%. Iron plays an important role in the formation of hemoglobin, the oxygen carrier of the RBC. Infants who are iron deficient have low birth weights.
DHA (Docosahexanoic Acid) DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that is found in fish and seafoods. Limit intake of fish up to twice a week. Steer clear of fish with high mercury content.
What Not to Eat Implications
Raw and Uncooked Foods Raw animal meats contain lots of bacteria and parasites that can cause food-borne diseases in pregnant mothers. Make sure the food is well done before digging in.
Processed Meats and Seafoods Luncheon meats and hotdogs contain Listeria monocytogenes which can cause stillbirth and miscarriage in pregnant mothers. Listeria monocytogenes can also be found in refrigerated spreads and smoked seafoods.
Large Fish Giant-size fishes like shark, swordfish and king mackerel harbor great amounts of mercury that interferes with the baby’s brain growth and development. Similarly, pregnant mothers should avoid consuming fish caught in river, ponds and streams since they may contain pollutants.

Reminder: Weight gain is a normal occurrence in pregnancy. Mothers should know that failure to gain sufficient weight during pregnancy put their baby at risk of health problems. 25 to 35 pounds are optimal weight gain in pregnancy. However, underweight or slender moms have greater weight gain demands.
To end, proper nutrition is important not only to pregnant mothers but more to babies for growth and development. Creating the right meal plan for pregnant mothers can be very challenging considering the onrush of pregnancy symptoms. Nevertheless, there are many foods alternatives that can help mitigate a symptom without compromising the health of the baby and the mother.

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