Carbohydrates During Pregnancy – Importance and Sources

4 min read

Written by Gunjan Bedi

Gunjan Bedi

foods containing carbohydrates

Congratulations mom-to-be! You’re going to enjoy the most beautiful phase of life. As your pregnancy goes on, you get lots of advice from grannies, mothers, and people around you to eat this and eat that. Some may advise you to consume more carbohydrates and higher nutrition. At the same time, some diet-conscious women like to eat low-carb food. So, how important are carbohydrates during pregnancy?

Pregnancy is not the right time to be on a low-carb diet. Carbohydrates provide you with energy and fiber, which are essential to support the growth of your baby. But not all the carbohydrates you consume are good for your health. So, do you need to quit carbs? Here’s what experts say about carbohydrates during pregnancy.

In This Article

What is Carbohydrate?

Carbohydrates are macronutrients made of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. These are available in simplest forms, such as sugar, and complex forms, like starches and fibers. It breaks down into simplest sugars that dissolve into the body to release energy essential for muscle functioning, brain functioning, and the functioning of vital organs.

Why Are Carbohydrates Important During Pregnancy?

pregnant woman holding a jar of whole grains

The metabolic adaptations during pregnancy are essential to support your and your baby’s nutritional requirements. That’s why for a steady energy flow, it is crucial to take more carbohydrates when a woman is pregnant. Hence, to get the fullness feeling, it’s an excellent idea to include rich sources of carbohydrates such as wholegrain cereals, oats, rice, and lentils.

These sources provide energy and good sources of minerals, dietary fiber, and vitamins. But during pregnancy, you need to limit those carbohydrates that cause a rapid increase in blood glucose levels. 

Here are a few reasons why carbohydrates are necessary during pregnancy

  • Healthy carbohydrates help manage blood sugar levels and decrease the odds of gestational diabetes.
  • It’s helpful to gain a healthy body weight and avoid obesity risk.
  • Healthy carbs help meet the energy requirements of the developing fetus.
  • Eating good carbohydrates is useful for dealing with pregnancy symptoms such as nausea, morning sickness, and vomiting during the first trimester.
  • Carbohydrate-rich food containing phytonutrients helps eliminate free radicals during carb metabolism.

Food Sources That Are Rich in Carbohydrates

Eating plenty of carbohydrates is excellent for a continuous energy supply. But ensure to include a good source of easily digestible carbohydrates, provide slow energy release, and supply minerals, dietary fiber, and vitamins. 

Here are a few sources of carbohydrates that you can include in your diet

[Read : How Good Are Bananas For You During Pregnancy?]

Which Carbs Should Be Avoided During Pregnancy?

carbohydrates that are unsafe

Although carbs are essential during pregnancy, you may need to avoid a few that absolutely don’t add any nutritional value. The simplest carb breaks down into glucose, easily dissolved into the blood. It releases quick energy, which doesn’t last long. The carbohydrates that come from processed food should be avoided during pregnancy.

Processed food doesn’t have vital nutrients, fiber, and minerals. As a result, prolonged consumption of such carbohydrates can lead to constipation and increase blood sugar levels. This further increases the risk of gestational diabetes. Some carbohydrate sources to be avoided are chips, white bread, and candy. In addition to these food items, a pregnant woman should avoid the following carb-rich food.

  • Sugary-rich food like pastries, cake, biscuits, lollies, etc.
  • Bakery food items and ice-creams
  • Sweetened beverages, preservative-rich food, corn syrups, etc
  • Gluten rich bread

[Read : Ice Cream During Pregnancy]

What is the Ideal Daily Intake of Carbohydrates During Pregnancy?

There is no set limit of daily intake of carbohydrates recommended by experts during pregnancy time. But as per experts, daily carbohydrate intake should not exceed 100 grams. Consuming more carbohydrates can cause ketosis (a metabolic state during which fat breaks down into simpler molecules to meet calorie requirements). Many nutritionists also suggest that about 60% of calorie intake must come from carbohydrates in pregnant women. However, the source of carbohydrates must be whole-grain food.

Pregnancy is a wonderful phase of a woman’s life. Many women are concerned about their eating and carbohydrates to avoid issues of gaining excessive weight and supporting growing life in her. So, this is all about carbohydrates in pregnancy. Ensure to eat healthily, consume nutrient-loaded food, and avoid adopting a low carbohydrate diet, as it can affect the unborn baby inside the womb. Take plenty of good carbohydrates and vital nutrients to sustain a healthy pregnancy.


1. Do Carbs Increase Amniotic Fluid During Pregnancy?

The amniotic fluid contains different forms of carbohydrates, such as glycosaminoglycans, complex-type N-glycosidic glycans, and O-glycosidic glycans. Regular consumption of carbohydrates during pregnancy can help to increase amniotic fluid uric acid and glucose, which further increase amniotic fluid.

2. Should I Avoid Eating Carbs-Diet During Pregnancy?

No, a woman should not eliminate carbohydrates from her diet during pregnancy. Carbohydrates are a good source of energy, fiber, and essential minerals that helps to support the growth of new life. However, a woman must avoid carbohydrates such as sweetened beverages, white bread, and candies.

3. What Quantity of Carbohydrates Should a Pregnant Woman Consume?

Carbohydrates are vital energy sources for the human body and are essential during pregnancy. Hence, a pregnant woman should include at least 175-210 grams of carbohydrates per day in her diet.

Read Also: Vitamin A During Pregnancy

Gunjan Bedi,B.Sc (Biotechnology), M.Sc (Microbiology)

Gunjan Bedi an inspirational writer and story teller. My background in medical science make me a perfect content writer in parenting and medical content writing niche. My content has touched millions of readers within three years. Since past three years I have worked with several clients in different niche and provide easy to read content that readers love the most.Read more.

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