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Balanced Diet for Pregnant Women

Pregnant women should follow a balanced diet that includes food items that are rich in carbohydrates, proteins, healthy fats, iron, calcium, vitamins, folic acid, and fiber. This HerHaleness write-up lists out the type of food items that women should consume during pregnancy.
HerHaleness Staff
Last Updated: Mar 5, 2018
A pregnant woman has to follow a balanced diet that not only provides all the essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to stay healthy, but also facilitates the proper growth and development of her unborn child. A normal, healthy woman requires approximately 2100 calories in a single day, but a pregnant woman needs about 2500 calories in a day. Besides increasing the number of calories, she should pay attention to the kind of foods she eats, so that she and her unborn baby get the right kind of nutrition.
Diet for a Healthy Pregnancy
Carbohydrates, Fats and Proteins
A balanced diet refers to a diet that includes all food groups, i.e., foods containing carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. A pregnant woman should include food items that are rich in carbohydrates. Thus, she can consume potatoes, bread, pasta, corn, rice, and whole grains. For healthy fats, she should use healthy cooking oils such as olive oil or canola oil. Nuts and fish are also good sources of healthy fats. For proteins, she can consume meat, eggs, fish, beans, and dairy products.
As constipation is common during pregnancy, women should include food items that are rich in dietary fiber. Some of the foods that are rich in fiber include whole grain breads, rice, pasta, fruits, vegetables, and cereals.
A well-balanced diet would be incomplete without including at least four servings of calcium-rich foods in a day. Ideally, a pregnant woman should get around 1000-1300 mg of calcium through her diet every day.
Iron-rich foods are a must in a pregnancy diet plan, because they provide the body with extra blood needed for the placenta. Broccoli, spinach, wholemeal bread, and muesli are some of the foods that are rich in iron.
Vitamin C and Vitamin A
A pregnant woman should eat at least one food product which is a good source of vitamin C and vitamin A everyday. Foods rich in vitamin C include oranges, strawberries, papaya, cauliflower, broccoli, green peppers, sprouts, and grapefruits. Foods rich in vitamin A include spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes, beet greens, turnip greens, apricots, and pumpkins.
Folic Acid
Folic acid (vitamin B9) is essential for the development of the nervous system of the baby. It helps in preventing neural tube defects, as well as certain congenital malformations in the baby. A woman should start taking foods that are rich in folic acid. These include green vegetables, lentils, orange juice, barley beans, rice, and peas.
Prenatal Vitamin Supplements
Pregnant women who are affected by nutritional deficiencies are usually asked to take prenatal vitamin supplements. These should be taken as per the dosage and duration recommended by one's doctor.
During pregnancy, majority of women experience nausea, vomiting, or morning sickness, which might sometimes make it difficult for them to increase their calorie intake. However, women must follow a healthy, balanced diet during pregnancy. It is essential for their health, as well as the health of their unborn child.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.
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Healthy eating for a happy pregnancy