What to eat during pregnancy

Written by: Mr Keith Duncan
Edited by: Laura Burgess

Nutrition is important during pregnancy as eating a healthy diet ensures the optimal development and growth of your baby. Eating healthily is linked to good foetal brain development, a normal birth weight and also reduces the risks of birth defects.

We’ve asked top consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist and Clinic Director at The Chelsea Birth Clinic in London, Mr Keith Duncan for his expert advice on which food groups to eat and which ones to avoid during your pregnancy.

Eggs with avocado. Pregnant women should aim to eat fruits, vegetables and proteins.

What food groups should I eat daily during pregnancy?

A pregnant woman needs around 2,500 calories a day and their daily meal plan should include the following foods:

  • Grains (complex carbohydrates) – examples include wholegrain bread and pasta, brown rice, quinoa and buckwheat. These should account for 55% of calories. Grains provide slow release energy, which is essential during pregnancy. They are also an excellent source of fibre that helps to combat constipation and haemorrhoids, which are common during pregnancy.
  • Fruits and vegetables – you should eat five portions each day. These can be fresh, frozen, dried, tinned or as a smoothie. It is recommended to eat a variety of different colours as each provides different essential minerals and vitamins. They also contribute to your daily fibre intake.
  • Proteins – approximately 10% of your daily calorie intake during pregnancy should be made up by protein in foods such as meat, fish, beans, poultry, eggs, soya and tofu.
  • Dairy – milk, cheese and yoghurt are a great source of calcium as well as a source of vitamin A, D and E. Low fat varieties of dairy products are recommended as excess dairy fat can contribute to cholesterol problems.


Do not hesitate to book an appointment with Mr Duncan if you have any queries about your pregnancy.

By Mr Keith Duncan
Obstetrics & gynaecology

Consultant obstetrician and Director of The Chelsea Birth Clinic, Keith Duncan has delivered more than 3,000 babies both in the NHS and as one of Europe’s top private obstetricians. 25 years of experience together with his personable and calm approach have gained him the reputation as a brilliant practitioner in multiple and high-risk birth situations.

An accredited sub specialist in maternal and fetal medicine, he is renowned for his hands-on approach, down-to-earth manner and meticulous attention to detail, making him a popular choice with both first-time mothers and a loyal following of repeat patients. As a member of the British Maternal Fetal Medicine Society, he served as the representative for London and the southwest at the prestigious Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, taking an active interest in global women’s health, ultrasound scanning, and development in utero. He is a strong supporter of personal choice in childbirth and listening to the individual needs and wishes of each patient. Whether it’s water births, caesareans or hypno-birthing, his philosophy is to provide a positive birth experience for all parents to be.

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