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    The Daily Balanced Diet of a Pregnant Woman: What to Eat and Avoid

    Diet & Exercise

    The Daily Balanced Diet of a Pregnant Woman: What to Eat and Avoid

    Updated on 3 November 2023

    Pregnancy is among the most cherished part of a woman's life. It is also during pregnancy that women have to take utmost care of their bodies. A healthy and nutritious diet in pregnancy is critical for the fetus's proper development and the mother's good health. Many women do not know what is good for their diet during pregnancy months. This article will help the readers understand the importance of a balanced diet during pregnancy and the foods you should and should not eat during this time.

    What is a Balanced Diet?

    A balanced diet comprises all the necessary macronutrients along with the essential micronutrients required by the human body.

    The macronutrients include carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, while the micronutrients include minerals, vitamins, and fibre. Macronutrients are needed by the body in large quantities and form the bulk of our diet.

    Carbohydrates and fats are energy-giving foods and are essential for providing our body energy for all activities.

    Protein is a body-building food. It is crucial for repairing our cells and tissues and strengthening the muscles and bones.

    The body requires micronutrients like minerals and vitamins in very few quantities. They are essential in helping our body fight infections, regulate hormone secretion, regulate the electrolyte levels of our body, strengthen the bones, and heal wounds.

    Fibre is another micronutrient that helps in the digestion of our food.

    Thus, a balanced diet is a diet that has all the essential nutrients required by the human body in the correct amount for the proper functioning of the body.

    Recommended Foods to Eat During Pregnancy

    Below are the recommended food items to eat during pregnancy for a healthy mother and child:

    Dairy products

    Dairy products like milk, paneer, cheese, butter, and ghee contain all the essential macronutrients and micronutrients. Milk and paneer are good sources of protein and carbohydrates. Butter and ghee provide good quality fats. Dairy products also contain calcium which is crucial for strengthening the bones. Hence, eating dairy products is highly recommended during pregnancy, as it contributes to the good health of the mother and the child.

    Broccoli and green leafy vegetables

    Broccoli and green leafy vegetables like spinach, fenugreek, etc., are rich sources of vitamins, minerals, and fibre. They are essential in regulating the hormones and strengthening our immune system.


    Fruits are a rich source of minerals and vitamins. Fruits like watermelon are a great source to replenish the body's water balance and mineral balance. Other fruits like bananas are a great energy source and provide several minerals like potassium, zinc, magnesium, iron, and calcium, which are essential to the body's regular hormones and electrolyte balance.

    Lean meat and proteins

    Lean meat like chicken and fish and food items like eggs are the best source of protein. Protein, as mentioned above, is a body-building food and helps rebuild cells and tissues in the body. Protein is also crucial for the healthy development of the foetus. Hence, eating lean meats and eggs during pregnancy is highly recommended.

    Legumes and pulses

    For vegetarians, legumes and pulses are the richest sources of proteins. Legumes like kidney beans, black pulses, soya beans, and sprouts provide good amounts of protein and must be included in the diet during pregnancy.

    Nuts and dry fruits

    Nuts and dry fruits contain fats and some amount of proteins and minerals. Fats are the richest source of energy. This provided with some amount of protein and vitamins makes nuts and dry fruits a very good food source during pregnancy.


    Drinking an adequate amount of water is vital in pregnancy. It helps in proper digestion, maintaining minerals level, and regulating the hormonal secretion in the body.

    Nutrition Chart for Pregnant Women

    Pregnancy Nutrition Chart

    Source: Shutterstock

    Prenatal Vitamin and Mineral Supplements

    Sometimes, consuming all the required prenatal vitamins and minerals from food sources is very difficult. In such cases, you can consume vitamins and minerals supplements. However, consult your doctor before consuming any supplements.

    Points to Consider During Pregnancy

    Avoid raw fish and shellfish

    Consuming raw fish and shellfish could lead to stomach infection and diarrhoea, which will result in the body losing more minerals and vitamins. Hence, it is suggested to consume properly cooked fish that is as fresh as possible.

    Avoid processed food

    Processed food like the ones in fast food centres is laced with preservatives and is often stale. This could lead to stomach infection and diarrhoea.

    Avoid deep-frozen and refrigerated meat

    Meat is the hotspot of bacterial growth. Hence consume meat that is fresh and not frozen.

    Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly

    Fruits and vegetables are often grown in fertilizers and pesticides. Wash fruits and vegetables as thoroughly as possible to avoid these toxins from entering the body.

    Avoid unpasteurized food

    Pasteurization is the process of sterilizing dairy products and killing any bacteria or viruses in the food. Hence, it is safer to consume pasteurized milk products during pregnancy.

    Reduce caffeine

    Caffeine can cause irregularities in the hormonal levels of the body. Hence, try avoiding caffeine during pregnancy.

    Avoid alcohol and tobacco

    Alcohol and tobacco have severe implications on the growth of the foetus. They can stunt the development of the child and can cause complications in the pregnancy as well. Thus, avoid alcohol and tobacco entirely during the pregnancy.

    Reference Links -

    NHS Team. 14 February 2020.

    Cari Nierenberg , Sarah Wild. April 24, 2021.

    Elizabeth Somer.

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    Written by

    Madhavi Gupta

    Dr. Madhavi Gupta is an accomplished Ayurvedic doctor specializing in Medical content writing with an experience of over 10 years.

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