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  • Writer's pictureDr. Karuturi Subrahmanyam

Best Foods for Pregnant Women

Pregnancy is a time when good nutrition is more important than ever. Your body needs extra protein, calcium, iron, and essential vitamins to support your baby’s growth and development. You also need to limit foods and beverages with lots of added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium.

In this article, we will share some of the best foods to eat when you’re pregnant, and why they are beneficial for you and your baby.

Dairy Products

Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt, are great sources of protein and calcium. Protein is crucial for the building blocks of your baby’s cells, and calcium is vital for your baby’s bones and teeth. Dairy products also contain other nutrients, such as phosphorus, B vitamins, magnesium, and zinc.

Some dairy products, especially yogurt, may also contain probiotic bacteria, which can support your digestive health and prevent pregnancy-related constipation and hemorrhoids. If you’re lactose intolerant, you may be able to tolerate yogurt better than other dairy products. You can also try non-dairy alternatives, such as almond milk or soy milk, as long as they are fortified with calcium and vitamin D.

Aim for four servings of dairy products or other calcium-rich foods per day. You can enjoy them as snacks, such as cheese and crackers, or add them to your meals, such as a yogurt parfait with fruits and granola, or a frittata with cheese and vegetables.


Legumes, such as lentils, beans, peas, chickpeas, and peanuts, are excellent plant-based sources of protein, iron, folate, and fiber. Iron is essential for your blood production and your baby’s oxygen supply. Folate is one of the most important B vitamins for your baby’s brain and spinal cord development, and for preventing certain birth defects.

Legumes are also rich in fiber, which can help you feel full longer, regulate your blood sugar levels, and ease your bowel movements. Fiber can also lower your risk of developing gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and high blood pressure.

You should aim for at least 600 micrograms of folate per day, which can be hard to get from foods alone. You may need to take a prenatal supplement that contains folate, as recommended by your doctor. But you can also boost your folate intake by eating more legumes, which are also a good source of other minerals, such as potassium and magnesium.

You can incorporate legumes into your diet in various ways, such as hummus with whole wheat bread, bean salads, lentil soups, or peanut butter sandwiches.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a delicious and nutritious food for pregnancy. They are rich in beta-carotene, a plant compound that your body converts to vitamin A. Vitamin A is important for your baby’s vision, skin, and immune system. However, too much vitamin A from animal sources, such as liver, can be harmful. Sweet potatoes are a safe and plant-based way to get enough vitamin A.

Sweet potatoes are also a good source of fiber, which can help prevent constipation and hemorrhoids. They also contain vitamin C, which can boost your immune system and help your body absorb iron from plant sources.

You can enjoy sweet potatoes as a side dish, mashed, baked, or roasted. You can also add them to your breakfast, such as a sweet potato toast with avocado and eggs, or a smoothie with sweet potato, banana, and almond milk.


Salmon is one of the best seafood choices for pregnancy. It is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for your baby’s brain and eye development. Omega-3 fatty acids may also improve your mood and lower your risk of postpartum depression.

Salmon also provides protein and vitamin D, which are important for your baby’s bones and teeth. Vitamin D also helps your body absorb calcium and supports your immune system.

Salmon is a low-mercury fish. Other low-mercury fish include herring, trout, anchovies, sardines, and shad. You should avoid high-mercury fish, such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish, as they can harm your baby’s nervous system.

You can prepare salmon in various ways, such as grilled, baked, or smoked. You can also make a salmon salad with greens, nuts, and cheese, or a salmon sandwich with whole wheat bread, lettuce, and tomato.


Eggs are another great source of protein and choline. Choline is a nutrient that is mostly found in egg yolks, and it is vital for your baby’s brain and spinal cord development. Choline can also prevent neural tube defects, such as spina bifida.

Eggs also contain other nutrients, such as iodine, selenium, and vitamin B12, which are important for your thyroid function, metabolism, and nervous system. Eggs are also versatile and easy to cook. You can have them scrambled, boiled, poached, or fried. You can also make an omelet with cheese and vegetables, or a quiche with eggs, milk, and cheese.

Make sure you cook your eggs thoroughly, as raw or undercooked eggs can carry bacteria that can cause food poisoning. You should also avoid foods that contain raw eggs, such as mayonnaise, hollandaise sauce, or cookie dough.

Other Foods

There are many other foods that are good for you and your baby during pregnancy, such as:

  • Leafy greens, such as spinach, kale, and broccoli, which are high in folate, iron, calcium, and antioxidants.

  • Lean meat, such as chicken, turkey, and beef, which are high in protein, iron, zinc, and vitamin B12.

  • Berries, such as strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries, which are high in vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants.

  • Whole grains, such as oatmeal, brown rice, and quinoa, which are high in fiber, B vitamins, and magnesium.

  • Avocados, which are high in healthy fats, folate, potassium, and vitamin K.

  • Dried fruits, such as dates, apricots, and prunes, which are high in fiber, iron, and antioxidants.

  • Fish liver oil, which is high in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, and vitamin D.

Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy Diet

To make the most of your pregnancy diet, here are some tips to follow:

  • Eat a balanced and varied diet that includes foods from all the food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy.

  • Drink plenty of water and other fluids, such as milk, juice, or herbal teas, to stay hydrated and prevent constipation.

  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and artificial sweeteners, as they can have negative effects on your baby’s development and your health.

  • Limit your intake of processed foods, fast foods, and junk foods, as they are high in calories, fat, sugar, and salt, and low in nutrients.

  • Take a prenatal vitamin that contains folic acid, iron, and other nutrients, as recommended by your doctor, to supplement your diet and prevent deficiencies.

  • Consult your doctor if you have any special dietary needs, such as allergies, intolerances, or medical conditions, such as gestational diabetes or anemia.

Eating well during pregnancy is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your baby. By choosing the best foods for pregnant women, you can ensure that you and your baby get all the nutrients you need for a healthy and happy pregnancy.

Dr. Karuturi Subrahmanyam, MD, FRCP (London), FACP (USA)

Internal Medicine Specialist

Kify Hospital



Phone : 85000 23456


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