Patient Education

Cervical Cancer Screening
Diet in Pregnancy
HPV Vaccination
In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)
Ovarian Cysts

Diet in Pregnancy

Our diet in pregnancy is essential to the growth and development of the baby. To ease your worries, here are some essential information about what you should and should not be eating.

What essential supplements are needed?

  • Folic acid – minimum 0.4 mg a day
    This is essential for baby’s brain and nervous system development. Higher doses of 5mg/day are recommended for “high risk” women, such as those with a previous baby diagnosed with nervous system development issues (eg. spina bifida), and women with Body Mass Index (BMI) more than 30kg/m².


  • Calcium – 500-1000 mg a day
    This is essential for baby’s bone growth, as well as protecting mother’s bones to prevent future osteoporosis (brittle bones).


  • Vitamin D – 10 mcg (400IU) a day
    This helps baby’s bone growth and nervous system development. A lack of vitamin D is associated with low birth weight, preterm delivery, gestational diabetes mellitus and pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure in pregnancy). Higher doses of 800IU – 1000IU a day are recommended for women at higher risk of deficiency, such as those who have reduced sun-exposure, or high BMI > 30kg/m².


  • Poly-Unsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFA)
    This is good for baby’s brain, nervous system and retina (eye) development, and shown to reduce chance of preterm birth. They are found in oily fish, nuts, seeds, vegetable oils and green leafy vegetables.


What foods should I avoid?

Certain foods when eaten in pregnancy, have been shown to have a higher chance of containing infections that can potentially affect baby. These infections include Salmonella (a form of severe food poisoning), Listeriosis (an infection caught from unpasteurised dairy products), and Toxoplasmosis (an infection caught from infected meat or contact with contaminated cat’s faeces). Foods to avoid include:

  • Raw/undercooked meat, including seafood and eggs — Risk of salmonella (eggs) and listeriosis (uncooked meats)


  • Ripened soft cheeses e.g Brie, Camembert, Blue cheese — Risk of Listeriosis. Cheeses that can be safely eaten include hard cheeses (e.g. Cheddar, Parmesan), Cottage and processed cheese


  • Pâté or poorly heated ready-to-eat meals


  • Unpasteurised milk — Drink only UHT or pasteurised milk


  • Alcohol — Should be avoided if possible, especially in the first trimester. Excessive consumption has been shown to lead to fetal alcohol syndrome (a condition causing brain and motor development problems in babies). If consumed, alcohol should be limited to no more than 1-2 units/week (1 unit = 1 pint of beer/1 glass wine/1 (25ml) shot of spirits)


  • Vitamin A — Should be limited to 700 mcg/day, as excessive amounts can cause deformities in the baby. Vitamin A is found in high amounts in liver and consumption should be avoided especially in the first trimester.


  • Fish high in Methylmercury — In view of the potential accumulation of methylmercury content in fish, limit your intake of fish with higher levels of mercury content such as shark, king mackerel, swordfish and marlin.


  • Caffeine — Excessive amounts may lead to a higher risk of pregnancy complications such as low birth weight, miscarriage and stillbirth. Caffeinated drinks should be limited to 1 to 2 cups a day. Caffeine is found in drinks such as coffee, tea, energy drinks, and cola.


What are some good food habits to have?

  • Wash all vegetables thoroughly to avoid ingesting soil on vegetables.


  • Avoid handling garden soil or cat litter with bare hands; use gloves and wash hands thoroughly instead. This is to avoid transmission of toxoplasmosis infection.


  • Eat more fruits, vegetables, and high fibre foods to help ease constipation, a common complaint in pregnancy


  • Natural remedies like ginger tea can help ease nausea and morning sickness