Nutrition for Pregnant and Lactating Women


Pregnant and lactating mothers needs to maintain a very healthy diet with extra calories. When the required amount of nutrients is not sufficient from your diet, the body itself will provide them from your own stores. So make sure you get all the nutrients you and your baby needs. It is beneficial for both mother and baby.


During pregnancy additional nutrients are required:

Energy and protein:

  • Growth and development of fetus
  • To meet the needs of basal metabolic rate

Omega fats:

  • Essential for Brain development and prevents preterm births
  • Required for fetal visual development


  • Bone and teeth development
  • Reduces the risk of hypertension in mothers
  • Aids in proper muscle contraction


  • Fetal growth
  • Expansion of maternal tissues including red blood cell mass
  • Maintaining additional iron content of placenta
  • Building iron stores in fetal liver
  • Compensate blood loss during delivery

Folic acid:

  • Prevents foetal neural tube defects
  • Improves birth weight of foetus



  • Synthesis of nucleic acids
  • Prevents poor pregnancy outcomes and congenital malformations

Apart from these nutrients iodine, Vitamin A, D, K, B 12, C, B6, B1 are also essential for fetal growth and healthy outcome.


Foods to be included:

  • Eat a variety of foods to get all the nutrients you need (cereal, pulses, greens, colourful vegetables, fruits, meat, poultry, fish, eggs and nuts)
  • Choose high fiber fruits and vegetables (plantainstem, avarakkai, kovakkai, kothavarangai, beans, broccoli, cabbage)
  • Make sure to drink enough liquids when you increase the fiber intake
  • Calcium rich foods (milk, buttermilk, paneer, cheese)
  • Iron rich foods (lean meats, keerai, millets)
  • Vitamin C rich foods (lemon juice, orange, guava, amla, grapes, strawberries)
  • Folic acid rich foods (drumstick leaves, mint, coriander, sirukeerai, manathakkali)