Pregnancy Diet: Focusing on the Dos and Don’ts for Maternal Health

By dr. Sheetal Deshpande

Besides a flood of overwhelming emotions, pregnancy brings many challenges for the mother during and after childbirth. While breast tenderness, nausea and fatigue are some of the problems an expectant mother faces, a series of dietary restrictions are required to accommodate the new life in them. In the postpartum period, a new set of foods is proposed to accelerate recovery from pregnancy, childbirth and lactation. C-section and normal delivery follow different routines as the former takes longer to recover from surgery.

A woman’s diet during and after pregnancy plays a vital role in the overall well-being of her and the baby. Proper nutrition through seasonal fruits and vegetables, dairy products, whole grains, nuts and seeds is a must, along with good mental health. It goes hand in hand. Let’s understand some crucial nutrition tips that a pregnant mother should consider:

Foods that come with essential vitamins

Carrots, pumpkin, leafy greens, sweet potato and a green palate (leafy greens) would suffice for your daily vitamin intake. Vitamin A and potassium should be part of daily meals. Bananas, oranges and mangoes can help fill the vitamin C void and dairy products such as buttermilk, yogurt and milk are great sources of vitamin D. However, in terms of milk consumption, only pasteurized milk is preferable when raw and yogurt can sometimes contain harmful pathogens. Protein intake is another important requirement during pregnancy. Beans, lentils and other items suggested by the expert are perfect.

Prenatal vitamin supplements

Supplements containing multivitamins and components such as zinc are best for a prenatal vitamin source, especially those combined with folic acid. Supplements ensure that the mother meets the intake of essential minerals and vitamins. But this does not mean that you should not take vitamins. Ayurveda suggests that rice, milk, wheat, amla, mango, grapes, raisins, butter and ghee are healthy during all trimesters of pregnancy.

Increased calorie intake

From contacting a dietitian to consuming nutritious meals, pregnant women adopting a healthy routine is a must. For proper nutrition of mother and baby, an additional 350 calories must be consumed daily. A balanced diet of organic foods, with moderate sugary or fatty foods should be consumed, taking into account height, weight and age. Let your dietician or healthcare provider know if there are any underlying conditions so that the diet can be recommended accordingly.

Liquids, liquids and liquids!

Water is not the only thing that is sufficient during pregnancy. You must consume fluids from other sources to complete the quota. About 2.3 liters (or 10 cups) of fluid every day is sufficient for good blood production in those months. Caffeinated drinks such as tea or coffee should be limited and can be completely eliminated from the diet if possible. They lead to dehydration, increased blood pressure and constricting blood vessels in both the placenta and uterus.

What to avoid?

While caffeine and unpasteurized milk should be at the top, be very careful about your intake of meat and eggs, they need to be cooked at a high temperature. Fish with a high methylmercury content, such as king mackerel and swordfish, among others, should not be consumed at all. To keep uterine contractions at bay, consume moderate amounts of tropical fruits and vegetables like eggplant, pineapple, and papaya.

Don’t forget that yoga and meditation can keep you calm and composed!

Incorporating meditation, yoga and a balanced diet is crucial to the well-being of expectant mothers. Meditation helps reduce stress and promotes relaxation, improving emotional stability. Yoga exercises improve flexibility, strength and posture while alleviating common pregnancy discomforts. A nutritious diet provides proper nutrition for both the mother and the developing baby, supporting optimal growth and development. Together, these practices create a holistic approach to promoting a healthy pregnancy and preparing the mother for childbirth. It is always advisable to check with your healthcare provider or dietician for proper advice on foods that are strictly prohibited during and after pregnancy.

(The author is the Director and co-founder, Activist. The article is for informational purposes only. Consult medical experts and health professionals before starting any therapy, medication and/or remedy. Opinions expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policies of

Pregnancy Diet: Focusing on the Dos and Don’ts for Maternal Health

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