Pregnancy Diet
Eating Plan For Pregnant Women

Pregnancy Guidelines


Pregnancy Diet Advice


What Should I Eat In Pregnancy?
Do I Need To Eat More Calories?
What Foods Should I Avoid?
Sample Menus
Good Snacks For Morning Sickness
Are Spicy Foods Safe In Pregnancy?

Back To Main Articles:

Guide to Pregnancy
Prenatal Care Guide

Additional Articles:

Exercise during Pregnancy
Weight gain during Pregnancy

The following advice is appropriate for most pregnant women, but always discuss your diet requirements with your gynecologist, especially if you are under or overweight.

What Should I Eat In Pregnancy?

You should aim for a healthy balanced nutritional diet, the same sort of eating plan that is recommended when you are not expecting. When you are pregnant however, you will need a few nutrients in larger quantities than average. These are:

Extra protein:
Sources include lean meat, poultry, low-fat dairy products like low fat milk, cottage cheese and yogurt, pulses, fish, tofu and quorn.
Extra vitamin A:
Eggs, hard cheese, oranges, dark red and green vegetables and fresh fruits.
Extra vitamin folate/folic acid:
Folic acid fortified breakfast cereals, hard cheese, spinach, peanuts and oranges.
Extra vitamin D:
Fish (cooked salmon), vitamin D fortified juices, skim milk, eggs and asparagus.
Extra vitamin C:
Fresh citrus fruits (oranges, kiwis, mangoes, berries) and fresh vegetables (peppers, leafy green vegetables).
Calcium fortified orange juice, skim milk, part-skim mozzarella cheese, calcium-fortified ready-to-eat cereal, low fat yogurt, spinach, and canned pink salmon.
Lean meat, eggs, fish (canned pink salmon), skinless roasted chicken, cottage cheese, peanut butter, skim milk, and lentils.

Note: A prenatal vitamin will not necessarily give you all the additional nutrients you need, so you should still include the above foods in your diet.

Do I Need To Eat More Calories?

Contrary to popular myth, you do not need to eat for two. Generally no extra calories are needed in the first 28 weeks of pregnancy. It is only in the last 12 weeks that an additional 200-300 calories per day are needed, the equivalent of two small slices of bread. Always discuss your calories needs first with your pregnancy healthcare team.

What Foods Should I Avoid?

1. Liver and pates, they contain high levels of vitamin A which can be toxic in pregnancy and cause birth defects.
2. Swordfish, shark, king mackerel or tilefish because they are high in mercury.
3. Raw or undercooked meat because of risks of bacterial and parasitic infections such as toxoplasmosis.
4. Dairy products made from un-pasteurized milk. So avoid soft cheeses like Brie and Camembert and mould ripened cheeses such as Stilton or Danish blue. Both carry risks of listeria and increase the chance of a yeast infection. Cheddar cheese and cottage cheese are fine to eat.
5. Pre-packed deli salads or meats, they could contain poisoning bugs.
6. Raw or lightly cooked eggs because they carry the risk of salmonella. So avoid the temptation of mousse, cheesecake, homemade mayo and hollandaise sauce.
7. Alcohol. There are no known safe limits for pregnant women.
8. Cod liver oil supplements, they contain large amounts of vitamin A.

Pregnancy Diet: Sample Menus

1 hard boiled egg, 2 slices of toast with low fat spread, half a grapefruit.

Small can of baked beans on 2 slices of toast with low fat spread. Kiwi fruit.

Bowel of calcium and vitamin D fortified cereal, fresh orange juice and 1 slice of toast with low fat spread.

Muesli mixed with chopped orange (or strawberries), topped with natural low-fat yogurt or half-fat Greek yogurt.

Porridge with berries, glass of fresh orange juice.
Lentil soup with wholemeal roll and citrus fruit.

Humus with pita bread, green salad, tomato and onions.

Chicken slices (well cooked) with pesto dressing, served on mixed salad and white bread roll.

Lettuce with canned tuna, hard boiled egg, tomatoes, French dressing and white bread roll.
Evening Meals
Macaroni cheese with side order of broccoli and baby tomatoes.

2 egg omelet with oven baked potatoes wedges and a large mixed salad.

Portion of salmon with boiled new potatoes or brown rice and 2 types of green vegetables.

Tofu or quorn stir-fry with lots of colored vegetables, chili's, garlic and ginger.

Lean meat (steak, beef), new potatoes and selection of fresh vegetables.

Homemade beef burger in whole wheat bun, baked potato wedges and mixed salad.

Roasted chicken, corn on cob and fresh mixed salad.
Optional Snacks and Desserts
Yogurt with chopped apple.
Fresh orange.
Oatmeal raisin cookie.
Yogurt drink
Banana with low fat custard.
Low fat ice cream with fresh fruit coulis (sauce).
Greek yogurt with fresh fruit.
Mixed fruit salad with dollop of yogurt or low fat ice cream.

Good Snacks For Morning Sickness

A small amount of bland, low fat food can help alleviate the symptoms of morning sickness in the first trimester. Try:

• Slice of whole wheat bread, a little honey and a mashed banana.
• Dark rye crisp breads with Marmite.
• Traditional oatcakes with fruit spread.
• Slice of white bread with peanut butter.

These foods may also help to reduce pregnancy cravings in the second or third trimester.

Are Spicy Foods Safe In Pregnancy?

Yes, if you enjoy eating chilies, salsas and hot stir fries, you can continue to do so in pregnancy. There are no risks from spicy foods, although you may find you cannot tolerate them as well (expect bouts of indigestion and heartburn).

  Related Articles on Eating In Pregnancy

For more information, see the following:

Do's and Don'ts of Pregnancy: Additional tips.
Pregnancy Questions: Popular topics discussed.

Back To Homepage: Womens Health Advice

Please Note: Information provided on this site is no substitute for professional medical help. See Disclaimer.
Copyright. All rights reserved.