Important Foods to be Included and Excluded During Pregnancy


Pregnancy is an entirely different phase for women. Apart from the excitement of welcoming a new tiny human to the world, it also becomes vital for mothers to maintain their diet—a healthy diet comprising additional vitamins, extra calories, and nutrients.

This article discusses the important foods to be included and excluded during pregnancy and how they benefit the mother and the child.

How does pregnancy affect a woman’s nutritional needs?

Considering the increased nutritional requirement, women must maintain a healthy diet during pregnancy. A pregnant woman requires, approximately, additional 300 calories every day. There is an increase in dietary needs to maintain a balanced diet, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and fruits.

How important is nutrition-rich food during pregnancy?

Pregnancy increases the nutritional needs of women. A pregnant lady may fall short of special nutrients such as vitamin D, calcium, iron, and folic acid. Furthermore, a nutrition-rich food will help in developing the fetus’s health. In addition, it also assists the mother and the baby in gaining a healthy weight.

What are the most common nutritional deficiencies in pregnancy?

A pregnant woman must eat healthy food to ensure the baby is not deficient in any nutrients needed for its growth. Some of the common nutritional deficiencies in pregnancy include:


  1. Folic Acid: The vitamin is needed to develop blood cells and tissues. Lack of folic acid can cause neural tube defects like spina bifida.
  2. Iron: Essential for the prevention of anemia in pregnancy
  3. Calcium: Pregnant women need to balance calcium levels to maintain healthy bones
  4. Iodine: It supports the normal growth and brain development of the fetus
  5. Vitamin C: Vitamin C absorbs iron in the body
  6. Vitamin D: It is essential for maintaining strong muscles, bones, and overall health
  7. Vitamin B12: it is necessary for enabling normal nerve and blood functions

How does poor nutrition affect pregnancy?

Lack of essential nutrients during pregnancy can affect the fetus’s health. It can lead to complications such as hemorrhage, anemia, low birth weight, pre-eclampsia, and developmental delays in kids. 

Important Foods to be Included and Excluded During Pregnancy

Important Foods to be Included and Excluded During Pregnancy - Infographics

Foods to be included during pregnancy

A healthy diet plan is a must for pregnant ladies who need a balanced amount of fiber, fluids, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, proteins and complex carbohydrates in their food.

Some of the foods to include in diet are:

  • Dairy products – Dairy products provide pregnant women with extra calcium and protein in addition to other dietary needs like vitamin B, phosphorus, zinc and magnesium.
  • Legumes: Legumes and grains like black beans, taco salad, hummus, and lentil curry are a rich sources of proteins
  • Salmon: Seafood like salmon are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and helps maintain gestational length. 
  • Sweet potatoes: Sweet potatoes provide beta carotene, later converted into vitamin A inside the body. It is an essential vitamin for a baby’s development.
  • Leafy and green vegetables: Food like leafy greens contain vitamins C, K, A, iron, folate, calcium, and potassium.
  • Lean meat such as pork, chicken, etc: These are rich in vitamin B, iron, and choline which are essential during the third trimester.
  • Eggs: Eggs are a rich source of choline and contain over 80 calories in each serving. It is a rich source of energy, proteins, vitamins, fats, and minerals. 

Foods to be avoided during pregnancy

During pregnancy, it is essential to avoid certain food partially while others completely. 

Here is a list of a few foods to avoid during pregnancy:

  • Cheese variants like mold-ripened soft cheese, namely camembert, brie, chevre, etc, contain listeria, thereby harming the unborn child.
  • Raw cooked eggs – Raw or partially cooked eggs may contain salmonella which may lead to food poisoning.
  • Alcohol – Alcohol consumption during pregnancy is harmful to fetal development. It increases sugar levels and may cause gestational diabetes.
  • Excessive Caffeine – Too much caffeine may lead to miscarriage
  • A pregnant lady must avoid liver products such as sausage and liver pate which may also have high amounts of vitamin A.
  • Raw or uncooked meat – It may lead to an infection called Toxoplasmosis, which is found in raw, uncooked meat.
  • High Mercury Fish – Pregnant women should avoid the consumption of fish that contains a high level of mercury.

Important Nutrients Supplements Required During Pregnancy

Pregnant and lactating women need a healthy diet and extra calories. It is essential to add additional vitamin supplements during pregnancy. These include:

  • Omega Fats: for brain and fetal visual development
  • Calcium: development of bone, and teeth and reduce hypertension in mothers
  • Protein To meet the basal metabolic needs of fetus
  • Iron helps expand maternal tissues such as red blood cell mass, compensate for blood loss, etc.
  • Folic acid: prevents neural tube defects in the fetus and improves birth weight
  • Zinc: It prevents congenital malformations and helps in the synthesis of nucleic acid.

Besides, other vitamins like A, D, K, B12, B6, B1, and C are also required in additional quantities for better outcomes.

Consult the best Nearby Nutritionist for Expert Advice

It is essential for every pregnant woman and lactating mother to know about the additional nutritional needs required to maintain health during all three trimesters of pregnancy. Herein, consulting a nearby nutritionist and taking expert advice will help to have a healthy pregnancy and know the dietary needs throughout the gestation period.

Allevia Medical Center’s Nutrition department consists of the best nutritionist and dietitian in Qatar who assist in providing expert advice regarding the dietary and nutritional needs of mothers and fetal development.


Pregnancy is a stage that requires proper maintenance of health and fetal development. Consulting a good nutritionist and getting guidance on what food is beneficial for health and which is not will help maintain a healthy pregnancy and prevent any complications.

Frequently Asked Questions on Pregnancy Diet

  1. What trimester is nutrition most important?
    1. It is the third trimester when the baby reaches the peak of nutritional needs to maintain its growth.
  2. Does eating rice during pregnancy be a cause of diabetes?
    1. It is advised to consume rice in a balanced manner during pregnancy as it may cause a rise in blood sugar when consumed for a prolonged period.
  3. Do pineapple and papaya affect pregnancy? Is it myth or truth?
    1. Although pineapple and papaya provide essential vitamin needs during pregnancy, certain women may be allergic to the same, which may affect pregnancy.
  4. What can I eat for protein instead of meat while I am pregnant?
    1. A pregnant woman can replace meat with eggs, soy foods, legumes, dairy products, nuts, and seeds to balance the protein requirement.
  5. How do vegans get enough calcium when pregnant?
    1. Vegans can get calcium by consuming dark green leafy vegetables during pregnancy.
  6. What are the symptoms of diabetes in pregnancy?
    1. Common symptoms of diabetes in pregnancy include:
      1. Increased thirst
      2. Nausea and fatigue
      3. Increased sugar level in urine
      4. Frequent episodes of bladder, skin and vaginal infections
      5. Blurred vision
  7. What meats should you avoid when pregnant?
    1. Pregnant ladies must avoid the following meat.
      1. Raw and uncooked meat
      2. Food containing high mercury

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