Nutritional guideline for pregnant mothers | Gleneagles Hospitals
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Nutritional guideline for pregnant mothers

24 August 2023 · 4 mins read


If you are expecting, make sure to focus on getting a wide range of balanced and healthy nutrients for your own well-being and to support your baby's growth. Learn more.

Pregnancy is a fantastic and thrilling journey! From the moment you see a positive pregnancy test to your first ultrasound, the joy of hearing your baby's heartbeat, and watching your belly grow, it is a life-changing experience.

In today's world, there is a lot of information online about what to eat, and you also get advice from friends and family who have been through this. It is totally normal to feel overwhelmed.

In this article, we are going to share with you some simple dietary tips for pregnant mothers to help you navigate this transformative phase of becoming a mother.

Importance of balanced nutrition during pregnancy

It is crucial to place a strong emphasis on maintaining a well-rounded and balanced diet during pregnancy because it plays a pivotal role in promoting the optimal development of your growing baby.

By making sure you eat different types of nutritious food that provide essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, you are building a solid base for your health and well-being as well as for your baby's growth and development.

Weight gain during pregnancy

During pregnancy, an average mother typically gains about 11-15kg, usually after the 20-week mark of gestation. Here’s a general guideline provided by Malaysian health authorities:

Pre-pregnancy body weight Body Mass Index (BMI) Recommended weight gain (kg)
Underweight < 18.5 kg/m2 12.5-18.0
Normal weight 18.5-24.9 kg/m2 11.5-16.0
Overweight 25-29.9 kg/m2 7.0-11.5
Obese ≥ 30 kg/m2 5.0-9.0

Do speak to your doctor about how much weight you should or should not gain during your pregnancy.

Types of food to eat during pregnancy

Your energy requirement increases during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. Here’s what you should be eating during pregnancy.

  1. Carbohydrates
    • 7 servings of carbohydrates to provide calories to support your energy requirements in pregnancy.
    • Healthy sources of carbohydrates include brown bread or rice, quinoa, legumes, and oats.
    • Limit intake of highly processed and refined carbs such as white bread, pasta, and pastries.
  2. Vegetables & fruits
    • 3 servings of vegetables, 2 servings of fruits to provide dietary fibre, vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin D, and minerals for foetal development.
    • They are also crucial to prevent constipation, reduce the risk of preeclampsia (high blood pressure), and gestational diabetes.
    • Citrus fruits such as oranges may help combat nausea.
  3. Dairy products
    • 2 servingsof dairy products to provide calcium for the development of your baby’s teeth, bones, heart, muscle, and nervous system.
    • Good sources of dairy products include low fat milk, cheese, yogurt.
  4. Lean protein
    • 1 serving of fish, 1 serving of lean meat / poultry,1 serving of legumes.
    • Protein is important for adequate growth and development of your baby, especially the brain. It aids in increasing blood supply to your baby and prepares your body for lactation.
    • Good protein sources are lean meat, chicken without skin, pasteurised eggs, salmon, nuts, and beans.
    • If you are a vegetarian, ensure that you eat a wide variety of plant-based proteins to get all the protein requirements and essential amino acids.
    • Protein intake should increase with each trimester of your pregnancy, ranging from 3.5 to 7 servings per day.
  5. Hydration
    • Drink 6-8 glasses of water every day.
    • Lower your caffeine (coffee, tea) intake to one cup a day or switch to decaf altogether.

Your doctor might also advise you to take folic acid and iron supplements to complement your daily needs.

Types of food to avoid during pregnancy

  1. Highly processed foods which are rich in saturated fat, added sugar, or sodium
  2. Alcohol
  3. Caffeine
  4. Raw meat or seafood like sashimi
  5. Uncooked processed meats
  6. Unpasteurised dairy products
  7. Spicy foods
  8. Fried fatty foods

Make an appointment at Gleneagles Hospitals

Each pregnancy is unique. Regular prenatal appointments and open communication with your doctor are crucial for monitoring your health and addressing any concerns throughout pregnancy.

Get in touch with us to book an appointment with a gynaecologist today, or find out more about the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Services at your nearest Gleneagles Hospital.

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