What Food Should Eat During Pregnancy

Get The Right Amount Of Calories For You

Foods to eat during Pregnancy – What Should I Eat During Pregnancy [Patient Education]

Being pregnant doesn’t mean you need to eat twice as much food.

  • First trimester Most women dont need any extra calories.
  • Second trimester Most women need about 340 extra calories a day.
  • Last trimester Most women need about 450 extra calories a day.

Ask your doctor or midwife how many calories you need during pregnancy.

Examples of healthy snacks include:

  • Low-fat or fat-free yogurt with fruit
  • Whole-grain crackers with fat-free or low-fat cheese
  • Carrots with hummus

Why Is It Important To Maintain A High Quality Diet During Pregnancy

Even if youve only been pregnant a short while you will have been bombarded with so much information about what to eat that youre probably more than a little confused.

Should you eat this? Should you eat that? If I eat this, am I putting my baby at risk? If I forget to eat this, what will happen?

Its a total stress-fest, and its enough to drive you to distraction.

You should be consuming a high quality diet regardless of your pregnancy but during those precious nine months its all the more important.

You baby will be made from the nutrients already in your body plus the ones that you eat during pregnancy. Biologically, his or her needs will come before yours.

Thats why its important to start eating plenty of the super nutritious foods before you get pregnant if you dont already.

If you dont get enough of the nutrients your baby needs his or her development could be affected.

In addition, you are at risk because your vitamin and mineral stores can become depleted very quickly leaving you with a range of potential symptoms including lethargy, constipation, insomnia, muscle cramps and anxiety.

But if youre pregnant already fear not. You and baby will benefit from adding these foods into your daily diet now.

So what should you be eating to have a healthy baby?

Here are the foods packed with the nutrients you both need for optimum growth and health.

Foods High In Unhealthy Fat

Dont race out to the closest fast-food restaurant while youre pregnant.

Those places are filled with high-fat processed foods to avoid during early pregnancy .

But that doesnt mean you should avoid fats altogether .

There plenty of healthy fats such as grass fed butter, olive oil, avocados, dark chocolate , and nuts.

These are foods that should be apart of your pregnancy diet.

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Dietary And Caloric Recommendations

To maintain a healthy pregnancy, approximately 300 extra calories are needed each day. These calories should come from a balanced diet of protein, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Sweets and fats should be kept to a minimum. A healthy, well-balanced diet can also help to reduce some pregnancy symptoms, such as nausea and constipation.

Should Pregnant People Avoid Caffeine

7 Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy â Habitat for Mom

Consuming too much caffeine during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of miscarriage, fetal development issues, and a low birth weight. A caffeine intake as low as 100200 milligrams per day could have a negative effect on fetal development. The underlying reasons for this remain unclear.

Many foods and drinks other than coffee contain caffiene. Examples include some sodas, energy drinks, chocolate, and teas. Some cold and flu remedies also contain caffeine. A doctor, nurse, or pharmacist can provide more guidance about which medicines are safe.

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Foods That Cause Allergy:

Soy, wheat, cows milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts , fish, and shellfish should only be consumed if you are not allergic to them. However, a few studies say that taking these foods during early pregnancy may decrease the chances of the baby developing allergies and asthma later in life . But, you cannot be sure about this.

Solution: As not all studies support this claim, it is best to check with your doctor what is safe and what is not, especially when it comes to allergies.

Vegetables To Avoid During Pregnancy


If you arent entirely sure what a raw sprout is, here are some examples:

  • Bean sprouts

Because sprouts are grown in a humid climate they invite bacteria such as salmonella and E. coli and since youre pregnant your immune system may not be able to fight off food poisoning, therefore, endangering your baby.

Thats why you shouldnt eat sprouts raw.

If you do have sprouts, buy fresh and make sure to cook them well.

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Vegetables Salad And Fruit

You should base your meals on plenty of vegetables, salad and fruit. You need 6 servings a day.

You should only drink unsweetened fruit juice once a day. Foods you could regularly eat include:

  • raw vegetables like salad or sliced carrots
  • boiled or steamed vegetables like peas and broccoli
  • vegetable soup
  • 150mls pure unsweetened fruit juice
  • pieces of fruit like bananas, apples and oranges
  • fruit salad

Healthy Eating For Pregnant Women

What To Eat During Pregnancy: Best Foods For You and Your Baby

What you eat during your pregnancy affects not only your own health and wellbeing and the development of your baby, but there is also substantial evidence that your diet in pregnancy can have a lasting impact on the long-term health and wellbeing of your child later in life.

Choose a wide variety of healthy foods from the five food groups during pregnancy to make sure your and your babys nutritional needs are met. Good nutrition will support the health and growth of your baby. You may find that you need to eat more of some foods to ensure key nutrients are obtained, but there is no need to eat for two.You can eat well during pregnancy by:

  • enjoying a variety of fruits and vegetables of different types and colours. It is recommended that you consume 2 serves of fruit and 5 serves of vegetables every day
  • increasing your intake of grain and cereal foods to 8½ serves a day. Choose mostly wholegrain and high fibre options
  • choosing foods that are high in iron, such as lean red meat or tofu. Iron-rich foods are important for pregnant women. 3½ serves of meat or meat alternatives are recommended
  • making a habit of drinking milk, and eating hard cheese and yoghurt, or calcium-enriched alternatives. Reduced-fat varieties are best. 2½ serves per day are recommended
  • drinking plenty of water

Australian Dietary Guidelines serving recommendations for pregnant women, by food group

*Choose canned foods with no added salt.

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Diet During Pregnancy = Healthy Eating

Therefore, we recommend avoiding popular diets such as Atkins, South Beach, The Zone, Raw Food Diet, and so on. The type of diet we encourage during pregnancy refers to fine-tuning your eating habits to ensure you are receiving adequate nutrition for the health of you and your baby. Healthy eating during pregnancy is critical to your babys growth and development. In order to get the nutrients you need, you must eat from a variety of food groups, including fruits and vegetables, bread and grains, protein sources and dairy products.

Typically, you will need to consume an extra 300 calories a day.

Pregnancy Diet Misconceptions And Weight Gain During Pregnancy

“Weight gain during pregnancy often has an ebb and a flow over the nine months,” Krieger said. It’s hard to measure where pregnancy weight is going, she said, adding that a scale does not reveal whether the extra pounds are going to a woman’s body fat, baby weight or fluid gains.

When it comes to pregnancy weight gain, Krieger advises mothers-to-be to look at the big picture: During regular prenatal checkups, focus on the fact that the baby is growing normally rather than worrying about the number on a scale.

The total number of calories that are needed per day during pregnancy depends on a woman’s height, her weight before becoming pregnant, and how active she is on a daily basis. In general, underweight women need more calories during pregnancy overweight and obese women need fewer of them.

The Institute of Medicine guidelines for total weight gain during a full-term pregnancy recommend that:

  • Underweight women, who have a body mass index below 18.5, should gain 28 to 40 lbs. .
  • Normal-weight women, who have a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9, should gain 25 to 35 lbs. .
  • Overweight women, who have a BMI of 25.0 to 29.9, should gain 15 to 25 lbs. .
  • Obese women, who have a BMI of 30.0 and above, should gain 11 to 20 lbs. .

Rate of weight gain


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Your Bffs During Pregnancy

Want to grow the healthiest baby possible while staying within your prescribed weight gain? Then build a prenatal meal plan around fresh, lean food choices, says Dr. Meredith Watson-Locklear, an OB-GYN with Orlando Health Physician Associates.

Start off right by shunning pregnancys biggest food fallacy that you can consume twice as much because you are eating for two.

No, no, no, says Dr. Watson-Locklear. Yes, its true youre eating for yourself and a growing baby, but that baby is the size of a pea in the first trimester. If you were REALLY eating for two, you would weigh what two adults weigh. But youre eating for someone who, at birth, will weigh about eight pounds. Dont use pregnancy as an excuse to eat everything you want.

Instead, create a nine-month meal plan designed with your babys needs in mind. Opt for fresh, whole foods while bypassing those packed with empty calories or ingredients with possible parasites, food-borne illnesses or toxins.

Food And Drinks To Avoid While Pregnant

How to Eat During Pregnancy, Pregnancy Diet

No level of alcohol consumption is considered safe during pregnancy. Also, check with your doctor before you take any vitamins or herbal products. Some of these can be harmful to the developing fetus.

And although many doctors feel that one or two 6- to 8-ounce cups per day of coffee, tea, or soda with caffeine won’t harm your baby, it’s probably wise to avoid caffeine altogether if you can. High caffeine consumption has been linked to an increased risk of miscarriage and other problems, so limit your intake or switch to decaffeinated products.

When you’re pregnant, it’s also important to avoid food-borne illnesses, such as listeriosis and toxoplasmosis, which can be life threatening to an unborn baby and may cause birth defects or miscarriage. Foods to steer clear of include:

  • soft, unpasteurized cheeses such as feta, goat, Brie, Camembert, and blue cheese
  • unpasteurized milk, juices, and apple cider
  • raw eggs or foods containing raw eggs, including mousse and tiramisu
  • raw or undercooked meats, fish, or shellfish
  • processed meats such as hot dogs and deli meats
  • fish that are high in mercury, including shark, swordfish, king mackerel, marlin, orange roughy, tuna steak , and tilefish

If you’ve eaten these foods at some point during your pregnancy, try not to worry too much about it now just avoid them for the remainder of the pregnancy. If you’re really concerned, talk to your doctor.

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Guidelines For Safe Food Handling

Follow these general food safety guidelines when handling and cooking food:

  • Wash. Rinse all raw produce thoroughly under running tap water before eating, cutting or cooking.

  • Clean. Wash your hands, knives, countertops and cutting boards after handling and preparing uncooked foods.

  • Cook. Cook beef, pork or poultry to a safe internal temperature verified by a food thermometer.

  • Chill. Promptly refrigerate all perishable food.

Color Your Diet With Fruits

Some people will warn you against fruit consumption when you ask them about what not to eat during pregnancy. This is a myth. Fruit isnt just delicious it can help curb your sugar cravings and supply you and your baby the necessary nutrients. As long as you arent eating them in juice form too often, fruits are an important part of your pregnancy diet. If canned, choose unsweetened.

Be cautious in your preparation of fruit. Dont use knives used for other raw foods that may have bacteria, and always thoroughly rinse raw fruit under running water. Rinsing your fruit is important since bacteria can be found on the outer rind or peel, which can cause illness or be harmful to you and baby. Cut off damaged or bruised spots to help remove any bacteria hiding out in these areas.

It is worth noting that eating fruits should be done with care. Observing how your body reacts every time you have some will help. For example, if you have a spike in your blood sugar or notice abnormal weight gain, you should cut back.

You can have moderate servings of the following fruits:

  • Bananas
  • Dried fruits

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Benefits Of Eating Fruit During Pregnancy

When youre pregnant, its important to eat nutritious food and avoid empty calories. In fact, if you eat mostly junk food during your pregnancy, you may be setting up your baby for a lifelong preference for fat and sugar, according to a 2013 study.

Fruits and vegetables are filled with nutrients. When you add a variety of them to your diet, youll likely get most of the vitamins, minerals, and fiber that you and your baby need.

Eating fruits and vegetables also helps prevent constipation, a common symptom during pregnancy. Get thee to a produce aisle and you wont regret it.

Leafy Greens The Darker The Better

Top 30 Foods To Eat During Pregnancy | Foods To Eat While Pregnant

You have free rein to enjoy plentiful broccoli, spinach and kale during pregnancy, and by doing so youll be getting a big dose of nearly every mineral you could possibly need.

Aim for one or two portions of greens per day and you and baby will both be in tip top health.

Why?Broccoli and dark leafy greens will give you a big hit of vitamins C, K, and A, as well as fiber, potassium, folate, and iron. Then theres the B vitamins, copper, calcium, zinc and choline.

There isnt much on that list weve missed out from your entire nutrition needs. There are extra antioxidants to add in too which can help boost your immune system.

In fact, studies have shown that regular consumption of these types of greens can help you avoid the problem of low birth weight.

Another good reason to eat broccoli and other dark leafy greens, is that they can help you avoid pregnancy constipation.

This is a big problem for many women but the high fiber content of these types of vegetables can be a huge help.

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Extra Vitamins And Minerals

Worried youre still not eating enough of the good stuff? Hedge your bets by adding a prenatal vitamin to your daily diet.

There are a few extra vitamins and mineral requirements during pregnancy that prenatal vitamins can provide, says Dr. Watson-Locklear. The big one is iron, necessary to produce the extra red blood cells for your babys growth. Almost 20 percent of women are anemic by the time they give birth.

Calcium also is important for babys skeletal development. If you are not getting enough calcium in your food, it will be pulled from your body for the baby, says Dr. Watson-Locklear.

Folate protects against neural tube defects in the growing baby prior to and during pregnancy. If you plan on becoming pregnant, increase your folic acid intake at least three months prior to conceiving, says Dr. Watson-Locklear. Elevated folate also helps decrease nausea in the first trimester of pregnancy as well.

However, do not overindulge. Too much calcium can constipate Mom. Too much vitamin A can cause birth defects. Too much iodine during pregnancy can affect fetal thyroid goiter.

There is a reason vitamin bottles have a recommended dosage on them, says Dr. Watson-Locklear. If you have a question, ask your doctor.

If you have questions about your pregnancy diet or pregnancy in general, talk to your OBGYN. Dont have one? Browse our physicians near you.

Eating To Help Manage Indigestion And Heartburn

Its common to suffer from indigestion and heartburn towards the end of pregnancy.


  • eating regularly, choosing smaller meals or snacks
  • having fewer high-fat and spicy foods
  • avoiding drinking fluids with meals
  • avoiding lying down straight after a meal – going for a walk may help
  • raising the head of the bed or using extra pillows.

Check with your midwife or doctor before taking antacids.

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Eating Well Is Not Always Easy

It is hard to eat well if you dont have a stable place to live or enough money for food. Some people find cooking a bit of a challenge. Some people arent brought up with home cooked food others have never learnt how to cook or to shop for food. Some people dont have a lot of energy or time to cook for their family or themselves. There are often services in community organisations or run by city councils that support people to develop these skills and to improve their eating habits. Your GP or midwife health professional may be able to put you in touch with services.

The Importance Of Folic Acid

What to eat and what not to eat during pregnancy

The U.S. Public Health Service recommends that all women of childbearing age consume 400 micrograms of folic acid each day. Folic acid is a nutrient found in:

  • Some green leafy vegetables

  • Most berries, nuts, beans, citrus fruits and fortified breakfast cereals

  • Some vitamin supplements.

Folic acid can help reduce the risk of neural tube defects, which are birth defects of the brain and spinal cord. Neural tube defects can lead to varying degrees of paralysis, incontinence and sometimes intellectual disability.

Folic acid is the most helpful during the first 28 days after conception, when most neural tube defects occur. Unfortunately, you may not realize that you are pregnant before 28 days. Therefore, your intake of folic acid should begin before conception and continue throughout your pregnancy. Your health care provider or midwife will recommend the appropriate amount of folic acid to meet your individual needs.

For example, women who take anti-epileptic drugs may need to take higher doses of folic acid to prevent neural tube defects. They should consult with their health care provider when considering trying to conceive.

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