What to Eat During Pregnancy | Emma's Diary India

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Pregnancy nutrition do's and don'ts

Pregnancy Diet

Eating healthy during pregnancy- do’s and don’ts

Choosing what to eat while pregnant can be a little tricky, especially if this is your first pregnancy. You want to make the right food choices not only for yourself but also for the health of your baby.

Here’s a checklist of the do's and don'ts to help you eat healthy during pregnancy.


It is important to consume a variety of foods during pregnancy to ensure that your diet is healthy. Try to make sure your diet includes:

  • At least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day (fresh or frozen). Go for a combination of cooked and raw foods, but make sure to follow hygienic practices with the latter.
  • Potatoes, bread, rice, rotis, parathas, millets (bajra, jowar, ragi, amaranth or cholai, quinoa) and pasta (wholegrain variants are preferable) to keep the energy levels up.
  • Lentils (chana dal, moong dal, sabut urad dal, masoor dal, lobia, kaala chana), beans, peas and eggs, lean meat, chicken and fish for protein. Two portions of fish a week, including one of oily fish (e.g. katla, surmai, black pomfret), provide important fatty acids for the mental and physical growth of the baby.  For vegetarian mums-to-be, two servings (30 grams each) of lentils, beans, peas and eggs a day is recommended.
  • Nuts and seeds (pumpkin seeds, watermelon seeds, sunflower seeds, flaxseed, chia seeds, etc.) will provide the good fats and Vitamin E.
  • Dairy foods such as milk, some types of cheese (such as cheddar, Parmesan and cottage cheese) and yoghurt - these contain calcium that helps build bones. Use low fat varieties wherever possible.


During pregnancy, your defences against stomach infections and food poisoning can be lower than usual, so make sure you avoid the following:

  • Unpasteurised milk, as it may contain the bacteria listeria that can harm the baby. Always opt for pasteurized milk. When consuming cheese and other dairy products go for the ones that are made with pasteurized milk.
  • Ground meat products - kebabs, burger patties- as this can also contain listeria.
  • Eating raw or partially cooked eggs, as this could lead to salmonella food poisoning. Eggs must also be cooked well. Avoid food products that contain raw eggs, such as mayonnaise.
  • Raw fish, shellfish and sushi - always make sure that the fish is well cooked.
  • When eating fresh fruits, make sure that they have been cleaned and disinfected appropriately. Fruits for which the peel can be removed make for a safer option.
  • Supplements containing Vitamin A and liver products should also be avoided. You do need some Vitamin A but too much taken in the form of a supplement can harm the baby.


  • It is important to stay hydrated at all times during your pregnancy. You should aim to drink plenty of fluids during the day. A minimum of one litre of non-alcoholic, caffeine-free drinks are recommended.
  • Caffeine consumption should be reduced because a high caffeine intake has been linked to an increased risk of low birth weight babies and miscarriage. Make sure to consume no more than two cups of tea or coffee in a day (200mg).
  • It is advised that pregnant women, or women who are planning a pregnancy, should not drink any alcohol. If you drank before you found out that you were pregnant, you should avoid drinking any further alcohol.

Guidelines on healthy eating

  • Always wash your hands with soap before preparing any food items
  • Make sure you wash your hands after touching raw meat.  Raw meat contains bacteria that can cause food poisoning.
  • Wash your hands after handling eggs.
  • To avoid any chance of food borne infections, always ask for food to be well-cooked and served hot. When eating out, avoid consuming raw foods such as salads. If you’re consuming meat, make sure that it is always well-cooked.
  • It is also a good idea to cut down on high fat and high sugar foods, such as mithais, cakes, biscuits and sugary drinks to avoid putting on too much weight while you are pregnant.

Approved by Neelanjana Singh, President, Indian Dietetics Association, Delhi Chapter
Registered Dietician & Certified Diabetes Educator

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