Indian foods for pregnancy that provide balanced nutrition

So you are pregnant; well congratulations. Your biggest worry is what to eat during pregnancy, how to maintain a balanced diet during the nine months, what are the right foods to eat when you are going to have a baby and more questions related to diet and pregnancy. This article answers those and gives you healthy tips on nutrition and good for you foods during pregnancy.

Every new mother to be wonders how she should supplement her diet for the unborn baby so it gets the right nutrients to develop properly. It is true that the child depends completely on its mother for nutrition. Hence it becomes important that an expectant mother eats a healthy diet during pregnancy. This article is written to meet the food needs of every Indian woman who is pregnant.

I’ll start with letting you know these are a series of articles on what to eat when you are having a baby. The articles are created keeping the Indian woman in mind and will include North Indian and South Indian recipes for pregnant women. This is the first in the series and it discusses essential nutrients you need when having a baby.

The Right Nutrients During Pregnancy

The first thing you need to understand when you are pregnant is that your calorie requirement goes up by approximately 300 calories. You need to eat healthy and your diet must comprise of foods that provide you balanced nutrition. Your pregnancy diet should be rich in iron, calcium, B vitamins, protein, vitamins A, C and E, fibre, some amount of fat and trace minerals. These are the most important in ensuring your baby gets complete nourishment to develop properly and you do not become weak or develop health problems post partum.

Explained below is the significance of nutrients required in the formation and growth of your baby and food sources rich in each of them. This will help you plan your meals better since you will know exactly what foods to eat when you are carrying a new life inside you.

Importance Of Iron When You Are Having A Baby

Most Indian women suffer from iron deficiency and you will need to combat the deficiency by eating foods rich in iron. Both you and your unborn baby require iron. The baby particularly requires iron to develop red blood cells and for increasing the haemoglobin count which transports oxygen in the body. You need iron so you do not suffer from anaemia.

Your gynaecologist may prescribe you iron supplements, but there is nothing like getting it directly from food. When you eat iron rich foods add a vitamin C rich food with it, as vitamin C helps in iron absorption.

Common foods that are a rich source of iron are –

Mutton, seafood, liver and eggs
Pulses, legumes and beans - all the dals, beans such as kidney beans (rajma) and soya beans, chick peas (Kabuli channa) and black channa
Green leafy vegetables – spinach (palak), fenugreek (methi), mint, cow pea (chawli), mustard (sarson) etcetera
Whole grains and cereals – whole wheat, millet (bajra and jowar), oats
Dry Fruits such as raisins and dates, nuts such as almonds and walnuts and seeds like sesame (til)

Importance Of Calcium During Pregnancy

Your unborn baby will require calcium for the growth of its bones and teeth, nerves, a healthy heart and muscles. You too who will require a build-up of calcium reserves after delivery when you nurse the baby. If your calcium intake is low you will suffer from severe deficiency of this mineral which could lead to osteoporosis.

Your doctor will definitely prescribe calcium supplement but you need to include calcium rich foods in your diet so you get enough of the mineral. Along with calcium you need Vitamin D which aids in absorption of calcium. You can get vitamin D from sunlight; stay out in the sun in the morning or evenings for your daily dose of vitamin D. Foods that you need to include in your diet that will provide you with calcium are –

Milk and milk products, such as cheese, cottage cheese (paneer), curd and buttermilk
Canned Fish, especially salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines
Dark green vegetables
Soya products such as soy milk and tofu
Nuts and seeds especially sesame seeds (til)

B Vitamins And Folic Acid In Pregnancy

Folic acid supplements are prescribed to all pregnant ladies. Folic Acid is a vitamin that belongs to the B complex vitamins. It is very essential for development of the foetus at all stages because it is needed to make DNA, RNA and for synthesis of red blood cells.

You can increase the folic acid your body receives by including certain foods in your diet. These foods are –

Raw vegetables
Pulses and legumes

Importance Of Protein In A Pregnant Woman’s Diet

Protein is required by every cell in the human body for growth and repair and for building muscles. The antibodies in the body, the enzymes we need for digestion and insulin are different types of proteins. A pregnant woman therefore needs lots of protein so her baby grows well. Protein can be obtained through proper diet that includes lots of protein rich foods. You can up your protein intake by eating the following foods –

Meat, one of the best sources of proteins
Beans like Kidney beans and soya bean products
Chickpeas (Kabuli Channa)
Dairy products
Dry fruits and nuts

The Need For Vitamins In Pregnancy

Vitamins are essential in pregnancy as they help fight infections and build immunity. The unborn child gets these vitamins from its mother. The vitamins protect it from damage from free radicals. The benefits of individual vitamins are described here -

Vitamin A – Your baby needs this vitamin because it improves the immune system, supports growth of healthy white blood cells, helps in growth of skin cells and hair and is good for the eyes
Vitamin C – Is required by the baby as it protects it against cardiovascular problems and supports its immune system
Vitamin D – Another important vitamin which helps in building bones and assists in brain development and function

The following foods are rich in the given vitamins –

Vitamin A – Sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, dark leafy vegetables, melons, egg yolks and fish
Vitamin C – Tomatoes, oranges and citrus fruits, strawberries, green chillies and melons
Vitamin D – Egg yolks, fish, fish liver oils and from being in the sun
Vitamin E – Vegetable oils, eggs, nuts and seeds


These essentially are the nutrients that you need for the baby and foods that provide you with the right nourishment. Along with this you need fibre which you will get naturally from foods if you maintain a healthy diet. Fibre essentially prevents constipation, a problem women suffer from after their first trimester. Now that you have understood the benefits of nutrients in pregnancy you can begin including the right foods so your baby gets the required nutrients it requires from you to develop properly. Try out the recipes that have been created to ensure you get balanced nutrition right through your pregnancy.

Article by Juana
Juana is a freelance writer, with years of experience, creating content for varied online portals. She holds a degree in English Literature and has worked as a teacher and as a soft skill trainer. An avid reader, she writes on a variety of topics ranging from health, travel, education and personality development.

Follow Juana or read 547 articles authored by Juana

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