A mother-to-be needs a balanced diet that includes iron, calcium and a variety of vitamins to maintain her own health and that of her baby

Dietitians from the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics at KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH), a member of the SingHealth​ group, share details on the nutrients and their sources required for the different stages of pregnancy in the table below.

1st trimester

​NutrientFunctionFood SourcesRecommendations (per day)
Folic acidNeeded to preven t neural tube defects in the foetus.Dark green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits and juices, yeast and meat extracts, liver and beans.600 mcg
Vitamin APromotes cell and tissue growth, and normal visionLiver, egg yolk, milk, red/yellow fruits and red/green vegetables

2500 IU

* intake of more than 10,000 IU of Vitamin A daily can harm the foetus. As such, vitamin A supplements should be avoided during the first trimester

2nd and 3rd trimester

NutrientFunctionFood SourcesRecommendations (per day)
IronRequired for blood formation especially since a woman's blood volume increases by 30% during pregnancy

There are 2 forms of iron, heme and non-heme:

Heme (2 - 3 times more absorbable than non-heme sources): Red meats (e.g. fish, chicken and liver)

Non-heme: Eggs, whole cereals, green leafy vegetables, bean curd, legumes, nuts and dried fruit

19 mg
Vitamin C Prevents anaemia by increasing non-heme iron absorptionFresh fruits & vegetables

50 mg

e.g. 2 servings of fruits and vegetables daily

Vitamin B12Required for blood formationFoods of animal origin such as eggs, meat and milk. Vegans must take a supplement to meet their daily requirement3 mg

Required for baby’s bone and teeth formation

To maintain mum’s calcium stores in the body

Dairy foods such as milk, cheese and yoghurt are the best sources. Opt for non-fat or low fat versions to prevent excessive weight gain

Broccoli, spinach, bean curd and fish with edible bones such as sardines and ikan bilis are other sources

1000mg daily

e.g. 2 cups of high calcium milk or 4 servings of calcium-rich foods (e.g. cheese, yoghurt)

Vitamin DNecessary for calcium absorption Fortified milk and fish such as sardine

10 mcg

Exposure to sunlight for 10 - 15 minutes daily

Ref: O17​