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National Nutrition Week 2021: List Of Top Nutrients Pregnant Women Require

One the last day of national nutrition week 2021, here are some diet tips for pregnant women.

National Nutrition Week 2021: List Of Top Nutrients Pregnant Women Require

National Nutrition Week 2021: Eat a well balanced diet to ensure optimal intake of essential nutrients

Diet and lifestyle are crucial determinants of health of both mother and offspring. While a balanced and nutritious diet is important at every stage of life - it's even more important when you are pregnant and everything that you eat is the main source of nutrients for your baby. It strongly recommended eating a balanced diet with a variety of nutritious foods from the pre-conception period as it is essential to ensure both maternal well-being and pregnancy outcomes. American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (ACOG) has suggested trying to eat a variety of foods from these basic food groups to get all the nutrients you need for a healthy pregnancy. The goal is to maintain a healthy weight along with getting enough nutrients to support the growth of your foetus.

National nutrition Week 2021: Nutritional needs of a pregnant women

However, many women don't get enough nutrients including iron, folate, calcium, Vitamin D or protein. So, when you are pregnant it is all the more important to increase the amounts of foods you eat with these nutrients. A healthy and nutritious diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and proteins is all pregnant women need to meet the increased nutritional needs during pregnancy.

Increased nutritional needs

Pregnancy has increased nutritional needs as you are feeding a whole new person and for this you require more micronutrients and macronutrients to support you and your baby. Micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals are required in relatively small amounts, whereas, macronutrients provide calories or energy and you will need to eat more of each type of nutrient during pregnancy. These include carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

Most of these dietary demands of pregnancy can be met by choosing a diet that includes a variety of healthy foods such as:

  • protein
  • complex carbohydrates
  • healthy types of fat like omega-3s
  • vitamins and minerals


Protein is important nutrient to ensure proper growth of baby's tissues and organs, including the brain. Additionally, it helps with uterine and breast tissue growth during pregnancy. For daily intake we recommend 70-100 grams of protein in each trimester.

Moreover, it has an essential role in allowing more blood to be sent to your baby by increasing your blood supply. Each trimester of pregnancy increases a woman's needs. Good sources of protein include:

  • lean beef and pork
  • chicken
  • salmon
  • nuts
  • peanut butter
  • cottage cheese
  • beans


Calcium is important to build your baby's bones in addition to regulating your body's use of fluids. Pregnant women need 1,000 mg of calcium, preferably in two doses of 500 mg per day.

Good sources of calcium include:

  • milk
  • yogurt
  • cheese
  • fish and seafood like salmon, shrimp and canned light tuna
  • dark green, leafy vegetables


Folic acid or folate has an important role in reducing the risk of neural tube defects that affect the baby's brain and spinal cord such as spina bifida and anencephaly.

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) recommends 600 to 800 mcg of folate during pregnancy. You can get the required amounts of folate from these foods:

  • liver
  • nuts
  • dried beans and lentils
  • eggs
  • nuts and peanut butter
  • dark green, leafy vegetables


Iron works to increase blood flow along with sodium, potassium and water to ensure that enough oxygen is supplied to both you and your baby. Good sources of iron include:

  • dark green, leafy vegetables
  • citrus fruits
  • enriched breads or cereals
  • beef and poultry
  • eggs

Apart from the nutrients listed above, there are some additional nutrients that are necessary to keep you thriving during your pregnancy like choline, salt, and B vitamins. Besides, it's important to take prenatal vitamins and drink at least eight glasses of water each day to get you through a healthy pregnancy.

(Dr. Archana Dhawan Bajaj is a Gyneacologist Obstetrician and IVF expert at Nurture IVF Centre)

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