What Should I Eat While Pregnant

Healthy Weight Gain During Pregnancy

Pregnancy Information : What Should I Eat & Drink While Pregnant?

If youre concerned about weight gain, dont stress too much. Some weight gain is normal during pregnancy. The extra weight provides nourishment to the baby. Some of it is also stored for breastfeeding after the baby is born.

Women gain an average of 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy. Its normal to gain less weight if you start out with more weight or to gain more weight if you were underweight before pregnancy.

You can speak with your doctor about the appropriate amount of weight for you to gain during your pregnancy. The chart below provides some general guidelines, though everyone is different.

Recommended weight gain during pregnancy with one baby

Starting weight
> 30.0 11 to 20 lbs.

*Body mass index can be calculated using the following equation: weight / height 2 x 703.

Dont worry too much about the number on the scale. Instead of focusing on your weight, concentrate on eating a variety of nutritious foods. Healthy eating is incredibly important, and dieting to lose weight or prevent weight gain can be harmful to you and your baby.

What To Eat When Pregnant And Don’t Feel Well

During pregnancy you may have morning sickness, diarrhea, or constipation. You may find it hard to keep foods down, or you may feel too sick to even eat at all. Here are some suggestions:

  • Morning sickness: Eat crackers, cereal, or pretzels before getting out of bed eat small, frequent meals throughout the day avoid fatty, fried, spicy, and greasy foods.
  • Constipation: Eat more fresh fruit and vegetables. Also, drink 6 to 8 glasses of water a day. Taking fiber supplements may also help. Check with your doctor first.
  • Diarrhea: Eat more foods that contain pectin and gums to help absorb excess water. Examples of these foods are applesauce, bananas, white rice, oatmeal, and refined wheat bread.
  • Heartburn: Eat small, frequent meals throughout the day try drinking milk before eating and limit caffeinated foods and beverages, citric beverages, and spicy foods.

A Complement To Nutrition

Prenatal Vitamins: Although the main source of vitamins and nutrients needed during pregnancy should come from your diet, a daily prenatal vitamin can help fill small gapsjust in case you unintentionally do not get enough key nutrients. Prenatal vitamins should be taken up to three months before conception, if possible.Consult your healthcare provider about which supplement is best for you.REMEMBER a prenatal vitamin, or any other supplement can only complement a healthy diet during pregnancy.

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Foods To Eat Or Avoid When Pregnant

Use this handy guide to help make decisions about what to eat and what to avoid during pregnancy.

It highlights some foods that are not recommended for pregnant women.

Foods to avoid are listed for a range of reasons, but in most cases there is a higher risk those foods may contain harmful bacteria such as listeria or salmonella.

Red = Don’t eat

scroll/swipe sideways if not all columns are displayed)

Meat, Poultry & Seafood

What To Know About How Much To Eat While Pregnant

If Youre Pregnant, Stay Away From These Foods
  • How many additional calories are needed to meet pregnancy weight gain guidelines
  • The benefits of meeting your calorie and nutrient needs during pregnancy
  • Easy snack and meal ideas to meet your increased calorie needs

Growing a baby is hard work, and your body needs adequate calories and nutrients to do the job well. A nutrient-rich diet during pregnancy is associated with improved fetal health and a healthy birth weight.1 Most women have a suggested weight gain of about 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy.1,2 While this seems like a lot, you actually donât need to eat that much more than normal to meet this healthy weight gain!

What does it mean to âeat for two?â

It may be tempting to follow the old adage and âeat for two,â but keep in mind that the fetus is very small during the gestation period and eating twice your normal amount is not necessary.3 Instead, focus on âthinking for two.â Pay more attention to filling your diet with quality, nutrient-packed foods to help meet you and your babyâs increased vitamins and minerals needs.4 In fact, additional calories arenât even needed in the first trimester.3

Read more: Healthy Weight Gain in Pregnancy and Why Itâs Good

How many calories do I need while pregnant?

Gaining the right amount of weight can help decrease risks of pregnancy complications and offers lasting benefits for you and your baby.8,9

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A Pregnant Woman Should Include In Their Daily Diet At Least:

  • Five servings of fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Six servings of enriched, whole-grain breads and cereals. Three servings of nonfat or low-fat milk or milk products
  • Two to three servings of extra-lean meats, chicken without the skin, fish, or cooked dried beans and peas
  • Eight glasses of water

The guidelines for eating well for a healthy pregnancy are simple and easy to follow. When, where, and how much they eat is flexible, and often is governed by necessity. A pregnant woman in their first trimester might choose a snack for breakfast and a large evening meal if they suffer from morning sickness, but select a larger breakfast and a light evening meal in the last trimester when heartburn is more of a problem. Avoid or limit caffeine and avoid alcohol and tobacco. Since no safe limit has been established for alcohol, abstinence is a woman’s best bet.

Have A Healthy Diet In Pregnancy

A healthy diet is an important part of a healthy lifestyle at any time but is especially vital if you’re pregnant or planning a pregnancy. Eating healthily during pregnancy will help your baby to develop and grow.

You do not need to go on a special diet, but it’s important to eat a variety of different foods every day to get the right balance of nutrients that you and your baby need.

It’s best to get vitamins and minerals from the foods you eat, but when you’re pregnant you need to take a folic acid supplement as well, to make sure you get everything you need.

There are also certain foods that should be avoided in pregnancy.

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Foods To Avoid While Pregnant

Raw Meat: Uncooked seafood and rare or undercooked beef or poultry should be avoided during pregnancy because of the risk of contamination with coliform bacteria, toxoplasmosis, and salmonella. At home, the temperature should reach at least 145 F for whole cuts, 160 F for ground meats like hamburger, and 165 F for chicken breasts.

Deli Meat: Deli meats have been known to be contaminated with listeria, which can cause miscarriage. Listeria has the ability to cross the placenta and may infect the baby, which could lead to infection or blood poisoning and may be life-threatening. If you are pregnant and you are considering eating deli meats, make certain that you reheat the meat until it is steaming.

Fish with Mercury: Fish that contain high levels of mercury should be avoided. Mercury consumed during pregnancy has been linked to developmental delays and brain damage. A sample of these types of fish includes shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish. Canned, chunk light tuna generally has a lower amount of mercury than other tuna, but still should only be eaten in moderation. The American Pregnancy Association recommends Safe Catch Tuna because their testing technology ensures each can of tuna is as pure as wild salmon or wild sardines.

Certain types of fish used in sushi should also be avoided due to high levels of mercury. Please see Mercury in Fish for specific types of fish and further information on how to calculate mercury levels.

Broccoli And Dark Leafy Greens

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No surprise here: Broccoli and dark, green vegetables, such as kale and spinach, pack in so many of the nutrients youll need. Even if you dont love eating them, they can often be squirreled into all kinds of dishes.

Benefits include fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, calcium, iron, folate, and potassium. Theyre a bonanza of green goodness.

Adding in servings of green veggies is an efficient way to pack in vitamins and fend off constipation due to all that fiber. Vegetables have also been linked to a reduced risk of low birth weight .

Try this kale eggs Florentine recipe or blend some spinach into a green smoothie and you wont even know its in there.

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Nutrition For Expectant Moms

A healthy diet includes proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and plenty of water. The U.S. government publishes dietary guidelines that can help you determine how many servings of each kind of food to eat every day. Eating a variety of foods in the proportions indicated is a good step toward staying healthy.

Food labels can tell you what kinds of nutrients are in the foods you eat. The letters RDA, which you find on food labeling, stand for recommended daily allowance, or the amount of a nutrient recommended for your daily diet. When you’re pregnant, the RDAs for most nutrients are higher.

Here are some of the most common nutrients you need and the foods that contain them:

meat, whole-milk dairy products, nuts, peanut butter, margarine, vegetable oils
page 2

Eat For You Not For 2

  • The need to eat for two during pregnancy is a myth.
  • In the 2nd and 3rd trimesters you may need some extra food to provide nutrients for the growth of your baby.
  • Eating a little more vegetables, lean protein and wholegrains each day is all youll need. For example, a small bowl of wholegrain pasta with vegetables and meat or bean sauce.

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Nutrient Needs During Pregnancy

A person needs more water- and fat-soluble vitamins during pregnancy and lactation. This includes folate, choline, and vitamins B12, A, and D, among others.


To help prevent illnesses and other complications during a pregnancy, avoid:

  • Seafood that contains mercury: Avoid shark, swordfish, and marlin, or keep the intake to an absolute minimum.
  • Uncooked or partially cooked meats: Opt for thoroughly cooked meats.
  • Uncooked shellfish: This is due to a risk of bacterial or viral contamination, which can cause food poisoning.
  • Raw eggs: Avoid these and any foods that contain them.
  • Soft, mold-ripened cheese: Cheeses such as brie and camembert carry a risk of Listeria contamination. Listeria is a group of bacteria that can cause potentially fatal infections in pregnant people and their babies.

Foods That Are Actually Ok To Eat

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And for all the dont eats and only eat sometimes in pregnancy, there are also plenty of foods that you can feel confident in filling up on. They include:

Soft cheeses. Brie, feta, camembert, queso blanco, and gorgonzola were once considered potentially harmful because they can harbor listeria. However, the FDA now allows soft cheese during pregnancy as long as its made with pasteurized milk. Be sure to check labels and ask restaurants how their cheeses are made. You can still eat hard cheese, processed cheese, and cream cheese.

And mozzarella? Youre definitely having a pizza in the next nine months, McNally says. Its somewhat of a staple.

Fresh produce. Fruits and vegetables are important in any pregnancy diet for their vitamins and fiber. Be sure to wash even prewashed produce.

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Unpasteurized Foods And Raw Meat

According to the USDA, pregnant women are at high risk of getting sick from two different types of food poisoning: listeriosis, caused by the Listeria bacteria, and toxoplasmosis, an infection caused by the Toxoplasma gondii parasite.

Listeriosis is about 20 times more common in pregnant women than in the rest of the population, according to a study published in the journal Reviews in Obstetrics and Gynecology. The CDC says that Listeria infection may cause miscarriage, stillbirth, pre-term labor, and illness or death in newborns.

To avoid listeriosis, the USDA recommends avoiding the following foods during pregnancy:

  • Unpasteurized milk and foods made from it, such as feta, Brie, Camembert, blue-veined cheeses, queso blanco and queso fresco. Pasteurization involves heating a product to a high temperature to kill harmful bacteria.
  • Hot dogs, luncheon meats and cold cuts, unless heated to steaming hot before eating to kill any bacteria.
  • Store-bought deli salads, such as ham salad, chicken salad, tuna salad and seafood salad.
  • Unpasteurized refrigerated meat spreads or pâtés.

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.

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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.

Need A Boost Of Fiber Try Hummus And Veggies

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One of the unfortunate side effects of pregnancy can be constipation. Along with drinking enough fluid, getting good sources of fiber like vegetables can keep you regular.

Vegetables also have antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals substances that protect the health of your cells and support your immune system, which is slightly lowered during pregnancy. And, when you dip veggies like carrots and broccoli into hummus, you get an extra helping of fiber along with protein to keep you feeling full longer.

Choosing healthy snacks doesnt have to take a lot of effort. Prioritize nutrition during pregnancy by keeping your kitchen stocked with nourishing options. That way, when you reach for a snack it will be a good one for you and your baby.

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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.

Folic Acid: It’s A Must

Nutrition experts agree that the best place for the mother-to-be to get all the essential nutrients, including ample amounts of vitamins and minerals, is from their diet. The trick is getting enough. For example, the MRC Vitamin Study at the Medical College of St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London found that women taking folic acid supplements around conception had significantly lower risks for giving birth to babies with neural tube defects , a type of birth defect where the embryonic neural tube that forms the future brain and spinal column fails to close properly.

Luckily, in 1996 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a regulation requiring that all enriched grain products, including breads and pasta, be supplemented with folic acid. Every woman during the childbearing years should make sure they get at least 400 micrograms of folic acid from food or supplements.

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What Can I Drink During Pregnancy

The safest drinks during pregnancy are water and milk. Current evidence supports the recommendations that you should avoid drinking alcohol if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy. Even small amounts can harm a babys development and may have lifelong effects.

Water and milk are considered to be safe to drink when pregnant. Low sugar soft drinks, small amounts of juice and soda or mineral water are also fine to drink. Likewise, small amounts of caffeine in tea and coffee are thought to be safe. During pregnancy and when breastfeeding, consuming up to 200 mgs/day is considered safe for a mother and her baby.

As a guide the approximate amounts of caffeine found in food and drinks are:

  • 1 cup of instant coffee 60mg
  • 1 shot of espresso coffee 100mg
  • 1 cup of plunger coffee 80mg
  • 1 cup of tea 30mg
  • 375ml can of cola 49mg
  • 250ml can of energy drink 80mg
  • 100g bar of milk chocolate 20mg

How Much Weight Should I Gain

Pregnancy Nutrition: What Foods You Should Eat While Pregnant ...

Gaining the right amount of weight during pregnancy by eating a balanced diet is a good sign that your baby is getting all of the nutrients he or she needs and is growing at a healthy rate.

Weight gain should be slow and gradual. In general, you should gain about 2 to 4 pounds during your first 3 months of pregnancy and 1 pound a week for the remainder of the pregnancy. A woman of average weight before pregnancy can expect to gain 15 to 35 pounds during the pregnancy. You may need to gain more or less depending on whether you are underweight or overweight when you get pregnant. Recommendations also differ if you are carrying more than 1 baby.

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