TCM Guide To Eating Right During Pregnancy

What you eat eats affects how your body is doing and it is even more crucial to eat right when you are eating for two.

Senior physician Zhong Xi Ming of Eu Yan Sang Premier TCM Centre @ Paragon shares what you should eat during your pregnancy to best benefit your growing bub.

First trimester


During the first trimester, pregnant women tend to be choosy about their food. However, as they will also be affected by pregnancy related discomfort such as morning sickness, it is not advisable to implement too many changes on one’s diet so that the body has time to adapt.

That said, expectant mothers should consume more unprocessed food and avoid food that is pungent. They should also avoid consuming fruits that are sour such as tangerine and orange, on an empty stomach, as this might induce vomiting.

A woman’s body temperature tends to increase during the first trimester, causing her body constitution to be ‘heaty’. She may also experience dryness of the mouth as well as dry excrement. Therefore, pregnant women should consume more foods with cooling properties.

Second trimester

This is the time that expectant mothers should absorb as much nutrition as possible and the good news is that the loss of appetite that is experienced during the first trimester is usually diminished.

Third trimester

During the last trimester, it is best to keep to a balanced diet and monitor weight gain. Pregnant women should also consume as much nutritious food as possible to prepare oneself for delivery and breast-feeding. During this period, they should try to avoid food that may cause indigestion or constipation. They should also stay away from hawthorn as consumption in large amounts may cause the womb to contract, and lead to miscarriage.

The different types of food, according to TCM

According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), food can be categorised into four different categories: food with cooling properties, food with hot properties, food with warm properties; and food with neutralising properties.

Generally, foods with cooling properties should be eaten when you have ailments related to ‘heatiness’, as they are able to reduce heat and detoxify the body, Similarly, foods with warm or hot properties help counter ‘cold’ related ailments. Neutral foods invigorate the spleen, stimulate one’s appetite and nourish the body.

Here is a guide to foods and their properties:

Zhong Xi Ming is a senior physician at Eu Yan Sang Premier TCM Centre @ Paragon. She received her Graduate Certificate in TCM from Hubei University of Chinese Medicine Faculty of Medicine in 1984. Eu Yan Sang combines the best of east-west healthcare practices with the 33 TCM clinics and 2 integrative medical centres in Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Malaysia. 

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