1st Trimester Diet – Here’s What You Should Include In Your Meal Plan!

Congratulations on your pregnancy! As you progress through these 9 months, your diet will also alter trimester wise. Be it in terms of the calorie intake or the nutrients needed. So, to make it easy for you, we have mentioned the diet modifications that you should consider in your 1st trimester.

Calories needed: No extra calories needed! Speak to your dietitian and calculate the normal calorie intake that you need based on your BMI.

Specific mineral requirement:

  • Folic Acid: For normal neural development of your baby (aka the brain, skull and the spinal cord) which starts from the first few weeks post conception. Folic acid/folate is a B-vitamin helps in the proper neural development and prevents neural tube defects (like spina bifida).
    • Suggestion: Include 400 mg folic acid tablet every day + incorporate foods rich in folate
    • Food sources rich in folic acid:
      • dark green leafy vegetables (broccoli, spinach, cabbage, spring greens, etc)
      • pulses (chickpeas, beans, lentils)
      • corn
      • baked potatoes
      • oranges and orange juice
      • brown rice and foods fortified with folic acid (breakfast cereals, oats bran flakes, wholegrain bread etc)
      • Note: Folic acid can be lost during cooking. To avoid that either steam vegetables or boil in a little water for a while to preserve it
  • Iron: Needed for proper development of RBC (red blood cell)functioning and to prevent anemia and infections in the expectant mother. In addition, it also supports the growing baby’s body and brain development along with build sufficient iron stores for later use.
    • Suggestion:  Include 27 – 38 milligrams/day in your diet. For better iron absorption, including vitamin C (around 80-90 mg/day) in your diet aids in iron absorption mainly from non-heme sources.
    • Rich sources of iron:
      • Non-vegetarian protein sources: lean meat, skinless chicken, fish, turkey, well-cooked eggs
      • Vegetarian protein sources: pulses, legumes, nuts
      • Other sources: green leafy vegetables, enriched bread/cereals


  • Calcium: for the development of your baby’s bones and teeth and your health
    • Suggestion: It would be advised to have 1200-1400 mg/day of calcium in your diet.
    • Rich sources of calcium:
      • For vegetarians: Milk and dairy products are the main sources, calcium-fortified bread & cereal, soy milk, juices etc
      • For non-vegetarians: (apart from dairy products) canned fish can be an additional source
  • Vitamin D: In order to help your body’s absorption and utilization of calcium.
    • Getting a good walk in the morning sunshine for 30 minutes (without sunblock) is the best way to get Vitamin- D.
    • Rich sources of Vitamin D:
      • Suggestion: On testing for Vitamin-D values, if your readings are below 30ng/ml  (insufficient levels of vitamin D) or below 20ng/ml (vitamin D deficiency), your doctor will recommend additional supplements.
      • For vegetarians: Good sources include mushrooms (sun-grown), soy milk, cheese, raw milk, cereals etc. It is important to read the packaging if the product is fortified with Vitamin D (most cases they are).
      • For non-vegetarians: Good sources are fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, swordfish,  & sardines. Other sources include are beef liver and egg yolks.

1st Trimester issue: Nausea

  • Never keep your stomach empty:
    • eat small & regular meals
    •  drink between meals instead of along meals
  • Keep away from strong/pungent odors
  • Food products that help with nausea:
    • cinnamon
    • tulsi leaves
    • ginger
    • fennel seeds
    • mint leaves
    • lemon

Do not forget to check out the menu plan for the first trimester 



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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