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First Trimester Foods During Pregnancy: Here’s What You Should Eat

The First Trimester of Pregnancy: What to Expect

Fuelling the body with a nutritious diet is always important; it is even more crucial to maintain a well-balanced diet in the 1st trimester of pregnancy. A good and well-balanced diet during pregnancy can help the mother handle the extra demands on their body as the pregnancy progresses. To maintain a healthy pregnancy, approximately 300 extra calories and varying nutrients like iron, folate, and iodine are required by the body to support the growth of the foetus and maintain the right weight. These calories can come from a balanced diet of fibre-rich fruits, vegetables, whole grains, etc. 

Nutritional Needs for the First Trimester

During the first month of pregnancy, the food chart should include nutrient-packed food that is required to help the mother maintain her health and to support foetal development. Some of the foods to eat in the first trimester of pregnancy include:

Folic Acid

Folic acid, also known as folate, is a B-group vitamin that should be a part of the food chart for the first trimester or during the first 28 days after conception when it is most likely for neural tube defects to occur. A daily intake of approximately 500 micrograms in the first trimester diet is generally prescribed by healthcare professionals. Some excellent food sources of folic acid include asparagus, bran flakes, chickpeas, broccoli, lentils, spinach, dried beans and Brussels sprouts. Besides these, vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, and potato are also rich sources of folic acid.


During pregnancy, a woman’s body may experience iron deficiency because the developing foetus draws iron from the mother to last it through the first six months after birth. Hence, women during their first trimester must consume foods rich in iron to overcome iron deficiency. The recommended daily iron intake for pregnant women is 27 mg a day, which helps them develop a healthy foetus. Meat, chicken, dried beans, lentils, seafood, and leafy vegetables are some of the best sources of iron that women can add to their diet plan for the first trimester of pregnancy.


Iodine is one of the most important minerals needed for developing the thyroid hormone, which is essential for growth and development. During the first trimester of pregnancy, the food chart must include iodine in advisable amounts to help avoid risks associated with mental development for the baby. Some foods that are an excellent source of iodine include seafood, seaweed, dairy products, meat and eggs. A minimum of 150 micrograms of iodine per day is recommended for women during their first trimester or during breastfeeding.


During pregnancy, an individual must take enough vitamins, including Vitamin A, C, D, B6 and B12. Vitamin A forms healthy skin and eyesight; Vitamin C promotes healthy gums, teeth and bones; Vitamin D helps develop bones and teeth for the foetus; Vitamin B6 helps form red blood cells; and Vitamin B12 helps maintain the nervous system and form red blood cells. Women in their 1st trimester of pregnancy must include food like carrots, leafy vegetables, broccoli, tomatoes, fortified milk, fatty fish, whole-grain cereals, bananas, milk etc. transfer enough vitamins for the body and the developing foetus.

To check the vitals of the individual and the developing baby, doctors recommend certain tests during the first trimester of pregnancy. The first trimester tests combine maternal blood testing and foetal ultrasound. Several blood tests and ultrasounds are recommended for women during their first trimester the measure the size of the clear space in the tissue at the baby’s neck.

Diet Chart for the First Trimester

What a woman eats during her pregnancy affects her and the development of the foetus. The right balance of folic acids, vitamins, minerals and nutrients in food is important during the first trimester of pregnancy

Foods to Eat During the First Trimester

  • Vegetables: During their first-trimester pregnancy, women must include food items such as broccoli and leafy greens to keep their diet nutrient-rich. Green peas, red, green and yellow bell peppers, tomatoes, asparagus, and sweet potatoes are recommended during the first trimester. 
  • Fruits: Introducing fruits to your pregnancy diet chart has countless benefits. Some fruits to eat during the first trimester of pregnancy include grapes, oranges, sweet limes, watermelons, pomegranates, guavas, apples, cantaloupes, pears, etc., which are good sources of folic acid.
  • Dairy Products: During the first trimester, an individual must increase their intake of proteins and calcium to meet the needs of the growing foetus. Dairy products such as Greek yoghurt, cottage cheese and low-fat milk are great sources of proteins and calcium during pregnancy.
  • Legumes: Legumes are a great source of fibre, iron, folate and calcium, which are essential during pregnancy. To have a healthy pregnancy, an individual must include food like lentils, beans, soybeans, chickpeas, peas and peanuts.
  • Whole Grains: Unlike their refined counterparts, whole grain food items such as oats, quinoa brown rice, barley and wheat berries are packed with essential nutrients. One can prepare recipes such as soups or cutlets during their pregnancy to allow healthy nutrients into the body.
  • Fish Liver Oil: Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA are essential for foetal brain and eye development. A single serving of fish liver oil is equivalent to the recommended daily Vitamin D, Vitamin A and Omega-3 intake. 

Food to Avoid in the First Trimester of Pregnancy

  • Caffeine: Consumption of caffeine during pregnancy can increase blood pressure, which might not be suitable for the mother and the growing foetus.
  • Alcohol:  Women during their first trimester must absolutely avoid alcohol intake as it can interfere with the brain and nervous development of the foetus.
  • Papaya: Consumption of papaya of all kinds during the first trimester of pregnancy is a strict no-no, as latex and papain content in papaya can cause uterine contractions and a false sense of labour.
  • Raw Cabbage: Cabbages are a good source of fibre which may be non-suitable during pregnancy, as the fibre can interfere with the linings of the stomach causing indigestion.
  • Raw Sprouts: Adding raw sprouts to the first-trimester diet can cause issues such as indigestion and allergic reactions. Raw sprouts can also cause disorders, such as diarrhoea and cholera.
  • Black Grapes: It must be duly noted that black grapes are highly acidic in nature. Hence one must avoid the consumption of black grapes in their diet during the first trimester of pregnancy.
  • Too much sugar and salt: Pregnant women must consume sugar sparingly as it can increase their blood sugar levels. The same goes for salt consumption, which can lead to high blood pressure or frequent urination. 
  • Fish containing mercury: Although fish consumption benefits pregnant women, fish with high mercury levels can harm the developing foetus.
  • Eggplant: Eggplants are highly rich in toxoplasmosis, which, if consumed in access, can lead to early labour and premature birth. 
  • Junk and street food: It is normal to crave junk or street food during pregnancy, but one must avoid eating unhealthy foods during the first trimester of pregnancy. Junk or street food can contain ingredients that can harm the foetus's development.

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