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Ideal Foods for Expectant Mothers

Pregnancy is a remarkable journey filled with anticipation and joy, but it also brings increased responsibilities, especially when it comes to diet and nutrition. A well-balanced and nutrient-rich diet is crucial to support the growing needs of both the mother and the developing baby. In this article, we will explore the ideal foods for pregnant women, emphasizing essential nutrients and backed by reliable references.

1. Folate-Rich Foods:

Folate, a B-vitamin, is crucial during early pregnancy as it helps prevent neural tube defects in the developing baby. Foods rich in folate include leafy greens like spinach and kale, citrus fruits, beans, and fortified cereals. It is often recommended to take a folic acid supplement as well, as it ensures an adequate intake of this vital nutrient.

2. Iron-Rich Foods:

Iron is essential for preventing anemia during pregnancy, as the body's blood volume increases significantly. Good sources of iron include lean red meat, poultry, fish, fortified cereals, beans, and spinach. Pairing iron-rich foods with vitamin C-rich foods, like citrus fruits, enhances iron absorption.

3. Calcium-Rich Foods:

Calcium is crucial for the development of the baby's bones and teeth. Dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese are excellent sources of calcium. If you're lactose intolerant or vegan, consider fortified plant-based milk alternatives like almond milk, tofu, and leafy greens such as bok choy and collard greens.

4. Protein Sources:

Proteins are the building blocks of life and are vital for the growth of the placenta and the development of the baby's organs. Good sources of protein include lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, legumes, and nuts. Incorporating a variety of protein sources into your diet ensures a well-rounded intake of essential amino acids.

5. Omega-3 Fatty Acids:

Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), are crucial for the development of the baby's brain and eyes. Fatty fish like salmon, trout, and sardines are excellent sources of DHA. For vegetarians, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts contain
ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), a precursor to DHA. Omega-3 supplements, especially those
derived from algae, are also available for pregnant women.

6. Fiber-Rich Foods:

Constipation is a common issue during pregnancy, and a fiber-rich diet can help alleviate this discomfort. Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes are excellent sources of dietary fiber. They also provide essential vitamins and minerals necessary for the overall health of both mother and baby.

7. Hydration:

Staying hydrated is essential during pregnancy, as it helps maintain amniotic fluid levels and aids in digestion. Water is the best choice, but herbal teas and 100% fruit juices can also contribute to fluid intake. Caffeine and sugary beverages should be consumed in moderation.

8. Prenatal Supplements:

Even with a well-rounded diet, it can be challenging to meet all of the nutritional requirements during pregnancy. Prenatal supplements, as recommended by your healthcare provider, can fill in the gaps and ensure that you and your baby receive all the necessary nutrients.

A healthy pregnancy diet is built on a foundation of nutrient-rich foods that provide essential vitamins and minerals for both mother and baby. Prioritizing folate, iron, calcium, proteins, omega-3 fatty acids, and fiber-rich foods ensures that the developing baby receives the best possible start in life. Hydration and prenatal supplements complement this diet, helping expectant mothers navigate the incredible journey of pregnancy with confidence and vitality. Always consult with a healthcare provider for personalized dietary guidance during pregnancy.


  • U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). (2021). Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. Retrieved from
  • American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2021). Nutrition During Pregnancy. Retrieved from
  • Mayo Clinic. (2022). Prenatal vitamins: Why they matter, how to choose. Retrieved from

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