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Pregnancy Diet Plan: Every Woman Should Know

By Dr. Gayatri Deshpande in Gynaecology & Obstetrics

Jul 01 , 2023 | 5 min read

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Overview

Eating a well-balanced diet during pregnancy is essential for both the mother and the developing baby. A diet for pregnant women should include foods that are rich in essential nutrients like protein, iron, calcium, and folic acid. It is important to avoid certain foods that can be harmful to the baby, such as raw or undercooked meat, fish and eggs, as well as unpasteurized dairy products. Pregnant women should also aim to stay hydrated and take prenatal supplements as recommended by their healthcare provider. A healthy pregnancy diet plan can help reduce the risk of complications during pregnancy and promote a healthy delivery.

Indian Diet for Pregnant Women - 7-Day Meal Plan

Here is a 7-day diet for pregnant women, designed to provide adequate nutrition to support the health and development of the growing baby and maintain the mother's health. This meal plan is based on a 2000-calorie-per-day diet but may need to be adjusted based on individual needs and requirements.


Days

Snack ideas for pre-breakfast

Breakfast Ideas

Snack for mid-morning

Lunch Ideas

Evening Snack Ideas

Dinner Ideas

Sunday

Soaked almonds and walnuts with a glass of milk

Vegetable upma with a glass of fresh orange juice

Greek yoghourt with mixed fruit and honey

Spinach dal with brown rice and a side of cucumber raita

Masala chai with whole wheat toast and almond butter

Grilled fish with mixed veggies and chapati

Monday

Dates and a glass of milk

Moong dal cheela with mint chutney and a glass of buttermilk

Fresh fruit salad

Vegetable pulao with a side of cucumber raita

Masala chai with besan chilla and a side of green chutney

Paneer tikka with mixed veggies and chapati

Tuesday

Soaked chia seeds with a glass of coconut water

Vermicelli upma with a glass of fresh pomegranate juice

Greek yoghourt with mixed fruit and honey

Lentil soup with a side of mixed veggie salad

Masala chai with baked sweet potato fries and mint chutney

Chicken curry with mixed veggies and chapati

Wednesday 

Soaked almonds and walnuts with a glass of milk

Vegetable dosa with a side of coconut chutney and sambar

Fresh fruit salad

Palak paneer with brown rice and a side of cucumber raita

Masala roasted makhana (fox nuts)

Vegetable fried rice with manchurian gravy

Thursday

A glass of buttermilk

Idli with coconut chutney and sambar

Roasted chana chaat

Brown rice, bhindi fry, dal, buttermilk

Roasted peanuts

Methi and paneer sabzi with chapati

Friday

A glass of tender coconut water

Mixed veg paratha with curd

Sliced carrot and cucumber

Brown rice, paneer butter masala, and dal

Mixed fruit

Tandoori chicken with roti and mixed vegetable salad

Saturday

Fruit and nut muesli with milk

Besan cheela with mint chutney

Sliced apple

Vegetable pulao, dal, buttermilk

Aloo tikki with mint chutney

Stuffed capsicum with chapati

Diet for Pregnant Women: Foods and Beverages to Consume

  • Water: Drinking at least 10-12 glasses of water every day during pregnancy is an essential practice. Adequate water consumption helps the amniotic fluid (protective fluid) around the foetus and promotes proper digestion as well.
  • Dairy products: Dairy products, which are packed with nutrients such as vitamins and calcium, are highly beneficial during pregnancy. These nutrients help to support the baby's growth and development.
  • Leafy green vegetables and broccoli: Dark green vegetables like broccoli are a rich source of folate, antioxidants and vitamins A, B6, C and K and provide haemoglobin, support healthy bones and help ward off skin problems.
  • Sweet potatoes: Sweet potatoes contain high levels of beta carotene (a vitamin) that are important for foetal growth and development.
  • Salmon: It is beneficial for pregnant women to include salmon in their diet, as it provides docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), or omega-3 fatty acid, in large quantities. The demand for this acid is known to be the highest in the third semester of pregnancy.
  • Legumes: Legumes provide iron, protein, fibre and calcium, making them an excellent source of plant-based nutrients that must be included in the daily Indian diet for pregnant women.
  • Eggs: Eggs are one of the best sources of protein and come packed with essential vitamins, minerals, amino acids and choline. This makes them the perfect dietary supplement for pregnant women.
  • Lean meat: Pregnant women need to get sufficient amounts of good quality protein, which is found in lean meats such as poultry, beef and fish. Lean meat is a rich source of iron, vitamin B and other important minerals.
  • Berries: Berries are an excellent choice for pregnant women as they contain large amounts of water and several important nutrients like healthy carbohydrates, fibres and vitamin C
  • Dry fruits: Pregnant women can also snack on a handful of dry fruits which contain zinc, potassium, calcium and fibre, thereby preventing constipation.
  • Whole grains: The growing foetus needs adequate amounts of minerals and vitamins, so it is important to include whole grains in an Indian diet for pregnant women. These provide the baby with folic acid and other essential nutrients for their healthy development.

Avoiding Certain Foods and Beverages During Pregnancy

  • Unwashed food: Unwashed food can contain Toxoplasma gondii, a harmful parasite that can cause serious complications in pregnancy. For this reason, it is important to thoroughly wash any fruits, vegetables and meat that is consumed during pregnancy.
  • Caffeine: Caffeine must always be avoided when it comes to nutrition for pregnant women. Not only does caffeine increase blood pressure and heart rate, both of which can be risky during pregnancy, but it can also create more difficulty in the case of pre-existing conditions like hypertension.
  • Alcohol: Alcohol consumption has serious consequences on the fetus, especially in the first trimester. Women should completely avoid any form of alcohol while they are expecting to avoid structural defects or abnormal facial features in the baby.
  • Processed junk foods: Processed junk food should be off the menu for pregnant women, as consuming items such as cookies, candy, pizza, burgers and baked goods made from white flour can raise toxic acrylamide levels in the mother’s body.
  • Unpasteurised foods: Unpasteurised foods like fruit juice, milk or cheese can also be risky due to containing harmful bacteria such as E. coli, campylobacter Jejuni, and listeria.
  • Raw sprouts: Raw sprouts should not be included in the diet for pregnant women as they present health risks. Raw sprouts thrive in warm and humid environments. This provides the perfect breeding ground for dangerous bacteria, making them risky to eat.
  • Raw or undercooked fish: Undercooked fish are also unsafe to eat during pregnancy. This type of seafood contains parasites, bacteria, and other microorganisms which can cause numerous illnesses.
  • Undercooked and processed meat: Meat should be cooked thoroughly before consumption. Raw or undercooked meat carries microorganisms that can be dangerous for pregnant women and even processed meats have been linked to the food-borne illness of listeria.
  • Raw eggs: Pregnant women should avoid consuming raw eggs as they may contain salmonella bacteria, which can lead to a variety of symptoms such as diarrhoea, food poisoning and vomiting.

Also, Read About The Double Marker Test

Conclusion

In conclusion, a healthy diet for pregnant women is crucial for the well-being of both the mother and the baby. It is important to consume a variety of nutrient-dense foods and avoid certain foods that can be harmful. By following a balanced and nutritious diet, expectant mothers can ensure a healthy pregnancy and a smooth delivery. It is recommended to consult with a healthcare provider or a registered dietitian to develop a personalised pregnancy diet plan that meets individual needs and preferences.