How Important Are Your Carbs During Pregnancy?

We all know that carbohydrates are the main energy giving food source, even more so during your pregnancy (65-70%).¬†Carbohydrates along with protein and fats are known as “macronutrients”. If you have been on a low carb or no carb diet so far, we recommend you to speak to your doctor as your baby may have the risk of having neural tube defects (30%).

How much carbohydrate is required during pregnancy?

In your second trimester, you would require an additional of 350 kcal and in your third around 500 kcal. Since the major source of your energy comes from carbohydrates. Since this is mainly contributed by carbohydrates, you need to speak to your doctor and decide the right amount to be included in your diet so that your calorie intake. The amount of carbohydrates to be consumed during this time can range from 175 to 250 gm/day.

So, what are the good and bad carbs?

During your pregnancy, incorporating carbohydrates in your diet is a must! But not all carbohydrates are good for your body. The types of carbohydrates are broadly divided into:

  • Simple carbohydrates: These are converted into sugar really fast. They provide instant energy & then get leave your energy levels low. Hence simple carbs have a high glycemic index (GI) and create havoc on your blood sugar levels. These are the bad carbs and include refined an processed foods (white bread, chips, pizzas, burgers etc). So, refrain from incorporating them into your diet as they increase the risk of getting gestational¬†diabetes.
  • Complex carbohydrates: These carbohydrates take time to break down (hence called complex) and release energy for a long time. Hence complex carbs have a low glycemic index (GI) and help to maintain stable blood sugar levels ¬†(have a GI value of </= 55). These are the good carbs and need to be included more in your diet.
    • Sources:
      • whole-grains (oatmeal, whole wheat bread & rotis, etc),
      • fresh fruits (simple carb which has natural sugar and fiber)
      • hi-fiber food
      • chick-pea, legumes & other pulses
      • starchy vegetables (potato, sweet potato, corn)
      • green leaves (asparagus, broccoli, spinach)
      • yogurt and low-fat milk


Dr. Aishwarya Rajeev has completed her MDS degree and is currently pursuing her PhD. She is an avid reader and loves to teach and write!

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