Pregnancy is a natural physiological state of being. Our bodies prepare for it as soon as we hit puberty. The reproductive body parts grow healthy and mature only if accompanied with the right mental preparation. When the time comes, and a woman bears a child, there is a lot of fuss about what to eat, what not to eat, when to eat, will it lead to weight gain that I won’t lose or will my body shape change forever?

But if done in the right way, there are easy food rules and straightforward guidelines, that are unnecessarily made complicated. These food rules will ensure:

  1. Ideal pregnancy weight gain. ( 6-15 kg )
  2. Optimum nutritional supply to the fetus.
  3. Balanced hormones in the body.
  4. To prepare you for the task of raising a child.
  5. Loss of your extra weight without any weird efforts.

1. Eat food that is easy to cook and digest:

This is the core of the food rules. As digestion slows down during pregnancy, the process of cooking ensures that the food is actually pre-digested. The whole point of eating is to get the nutrients from the food that will nurture your body as well as that of your baby’s.

In terms of science, cooking grains, pulses, and vegetables ensure removal of anti-nutrients, like phytates and oxalates that come in the way of nutrient absorption when consumed raw. The foods that are easy to cook are also the ones that are hydrating and keep acidity down, which is a common symptom of pregnancy.

2. Eat food that hydrates and act as a natural antacid:

What we eat plays a major role in maintaining hydration levels and keeping the acidity down. The water balance is really important during pregnancy as placenta and amniotic fluid depend upon it. The total blood volume goes up and there is more frequent urination as well as thirst.

Kidneys play a very important role here. When supported by right eating and drinking they ensure that BP and acidity levels are kept under check

Some of the very common food ingredients that when taken in excess amount can leave you dehydrated and hyper acidic whereas when consumed in the right amounts can help lower both.

  1. SUGAR: Sugar in higher amounts will leave you dehydrated, also the origin of sugar matters. Sugar coming from biscuits, cookies, juices, flavored milk, and other packaged health drinks is like muddy water you don’t want to have.
  2. SALT: Salt in lemonade is good, but the stuff that comes out of a fat packet is a bad idea so our options like popcorn while watching a movie or those chips that you’re eating since you’re allowed to gain weight now. Since blood volume goes up during pregnancy, ladies usually crave for salty food. This can be compensated using home-made pickles, drinks or black salt over fruits is a good practice
  3. CAFFEINE: Caffeine not just only comes from the cup of tea or coffee but also comes from chocolates cupcakes energy drinks and colas. So you must keep in mind that coffee or tea (green, black or white) should not be the first thing in the morning you start with and you should never replace your major meal with a cup of coffee or tea, even you should not consume them after your late-night dinner
  4. FIBRE: Consume fiber coming from fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains but avoid pills and fiber drinks. The fiber in the right amount will help relieve constipation and keep your bowel movements good; but an excess amount will cause constipation and leave you dehydrated as well as will hinder nutrient absorption.

3.Eat protein (amino acids) that is easy to assimilate:

You might have heard that as soon as you become pregnant your protein intake should be increased. This is true as to compensate you as are growing fetus as well as your own needs. But what kind of proteins should you include in your diet?

These proteins must be easy for your body to assimilate and absorb.

There is a thing called ‘PROTEIN TURNOVER’ which means the total protein that is broken down and built up in your body in a day. If you take less protein in your diet, the breaking of protein is more than building up of protein on that particular day, which leads to muscle and bone loss.

But when we think to increase our protein what exactly should we eat and what exactly should we avoid?

Some of you might have heard of taking a protein-rich diet in one major meal of the day (usually dinner), but the trick is to divide good protein sources all throughout the day and keeping at least one of the food items that are rich in protein. They may include legumes, pulses, dairy products, eggs, chicken, meat, etc.

But protein assimilation is kicked faster by the presence of other nutrients and micronutrients such as fats, vitamins, and minerals. So rather than taking plain protein supplements, it’s a good idea to depend upon natural food sources that also allow the intake of other nutrients along with protein.


Leucine is probably the most important amino acid during pregnancy as just the act of eating leucine improves protein synthesis and prevents muscle loss. Leucine plays an important role in hormone signaling and therefore has an important role before and right after delivery. Leucine improves insulin response, helps the lower blood pressure level, reduces serotonin, and therefore lowers the feelings of drowsiness and fatigue that is common during this time.

Leucine is found in legumes, pulses, milk and milk products, eggs, fish, and meat.

4. Food that is naturally rich in micronutrients

Micronutrients like folic acid, calcium and iron we all know of, but a healthy pregnancy needs an area of micronutrients from phytosterols to the lycopene, the flavonoids to phytoestrogens, and anthocyanins. Foods rich in micronutrients leave you energetic, happy, and glowing.

  1. The local foods that you find around, which are also seasonal are usually rich in micronutrients.
  2. Consume pickle and do not bother about too much salt otherwise, you will land on missing many essential nutrients, mainly vitamin K2, which you might have never heard of.
  3. Also, do not consume high fiber foods or packaged food as they leave you constipated. They will also hinder in micronutrient absorption, mainly magnesium. Little do we know that both, magnesium and Vit. K2 are essential for the absorption of Vit. D. All these three help in preventing bone loss and have a heart-protective effect.

These food rules will hopefully help you simplify dizzyingly complicated food choices and serve you a clear and straight vision for your nutrition during pregnancy.


M. Sc. Gold Medalist

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