Nutrition of Pregnancy: Key Tips from a Obstetrician

20 March 2023

Pregnant mothers are often curious about the foods that are safe to consume during pregnancy. Maintaining a balanced diet as advised by a healthcare professional is crucial for the health of the mother and developing fetus. While it is common knowledge to avoid alcohol and cigarettes, there may still be questions regarding the safety of other foods, drinks, and supplements.

To address these concerns, we have summarized the expert advice of our Consultant Obsterician and Gynaecologist Dr Thow Sun Ta, who shares everything expectant mothers need to know during pregnancy and after the birth of their bundle of joy. It's important to get the right nutrients during pregnancy for your health and your baby's development. Here's some useful tips to help you maintain a healthy and balanced diet during pregnancy.

Pregnant mother drink coffee
Pregnant mother drink coffee

Is It Safe to Drink Coffee While I'm Pregnant?

Coffee is one of the most consumed beverages worldwide and has potential benefits for blood circulation.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that pregnant women limit their caffeine consumption to less than 200 mg (about two cup of brewed coffee) per day.

However, it is important to note that the caffeine in coffee can have adverse effects, especially if you are experiencing stomach discomfort, high blood pressure, or uterine bleeding.

Therefore, it is recommended that you consult with your healthcare provider regarding coffee consumption during pregnancy.

Can I Eat Durian When I'm Pregnant?

Durian is actually edible for pregnant mother, but due to its very high sugar content, it is recommended to consume it in moderation. Eating a small amount, like 2-3 small pieces, is better than consuming an entire durian.

Consuming too much of it or any fruit can lead to high blood sugar levels, which can be harmful to pregnant women and reduce immunity levels. Even if you are not pregnant, it is still not advisable to consume fruit in a large portion due to its high sugar content.

Traditional remedies for pregnancy
Traditional remedies for pregnancy

Are Traditional Remedies Safe for Pregnancy?

During pregnancy, it is not advisable for pregnant women to take any form of traditional medicine for supplementation as their physical constitution is generally weaker compared to those who are not pregnant. Chinese medicine may increase blood circulation, which may not be suitable for pregnant women.

It is important to note that natural herbs and traditional medicines do not undergo the same level of scrutiny and evaluation by the government as prescription drugs. As a result, the quality and potency of herbal supplements can vary and may pose a risk to the safety of the mother and developing fetus during pregnancy.

However, after giving birth, it is safe for women to take traditional Chinese medicine for postpartum recovery. It is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional to ensure the safety and efficacy of any herbal supplements or traditional medicines taken during this period.

Morning sickness during pregnancy
Morning sickness during pregnancy

When Should I See a Doctor If I Have Morning Sickness?

Morning sickness is a common experience during pregnancy, but its severity can vary greatly among women. While some women may only experience mild symptoms such as bloating and discomfort, others may suffer from severe symptoms that include vomiting and an inability to eat or drink.

Severe morning sickness can lead to a lack of essential nutrients for both the mother and the developing baby, which is particularly concerning during the first three months of pregnancy. It typically starts in the first month of pregnancy and resolves by the third or fourth month. However, if you experience severe vomiting, it is important to contact your doctor. This may indicate a condition called hyperemesis gravidarum, which is a more severe form of morning sickness that can cause dehydration and weight loss.

To ensure the proper growth and development of the baby, it's important for pregnant women to consume enough nutrients, especially folic acid. If you're experiencing severe morning sickness symptoms, it's recommended that you seek medical advice.

supplements for pregnant mother
Supplements for pregnant mother

What Are the Recommended Supplements for A Pregnant Woman?

Pregnancy can be divided into three trimesters. During the early stage, which is the first three months of pregnancy, taking folic acid is the most crucial aspect of supplementation for each pregnant woman. Folic acid is essential for preventing birth defects in the baby's brain and spine. Prenatal checkups around 11 weeks ensure that the mother's folic acid intake is sufficient.

Apart from folic acid, taking vitamin C and other vitamins during pregnancy is safe and important. Pregnant women are generally more susceptible to illnesses, so taking supplements can help improve their immune system and reduce the likelihood of infection. Vitamin B complex and DHA are also safe for consumption during pregnancy.

Some women may wonder if taking DHA can make their baby smarter. While there is no scientific evidence to support this, it is safe for consumption during pregnancy. However, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional to learn more about the appropriate dosage of any supplements during pregnancy to ensure safety and efficacy.


Maintaining a healthy diet and avoiding unnecessary remedies intake are crucial for a healthy pregnancy. Dr. Tong emphasizes the importance of seeking medical advice if an expectant mother has any concerns about her current diet or medication and whether it is suitable for her own situation.

If you're able to look into your own diet with the help of a medical professional, you're definitely on the right track to achieving the best possible outcome for both you and your child.

Schedule an appointment with our specialist today: