What You Need to Eat and What Not to Eat During Pregnancy

importance of nutritional requirements during pregnancy and lactation
importance of nutritional requirements during pregnancy and lactation

What You Need to Eat and What Not to Eat During Pregnancy

From the day you find out that you are pregnant most moms-to-be have a variety of questions relating to pregnancy nutrition. Foods you should be eating and foods should you be avoiding as the next nine months progress. Some foods are even better entirely avoided. Then there is all those old wives’ tales to sort through and determine fact from fiction. Let’s try to ease things at least a little for you.

Sugar and Artificial Sweeteners

When you are pregnant, you must try to avoid, even better eliminate, sugar and artificial sweetener from your diet. Don’t make the mistake of replacing sugar with Sucrose, aspartame or various other artificial sweeteners, which are potent chemicals with questionable health concerns. In fact, their effect on the fetus is not yet established and there is a belief that they could pose a health risk to your child.

Sugar is responsible for a number of pregnancy related issues however; the most worrisome is the quick release of insulin in your body. This can result in your pancreas falling short of being able to do its job effectively, which in turn leads to an increase in blood sugar levels in the body.

Even if you don’t suffer from high blood pressure or gestational diabetes, if you have a high blood sugar, it can lead to birth complications, a large baby causing labor problems, and excessive weight gain. If you must use sugar or you intend to satisfy a sweet tooth seek raw honey, agave syrup, Stevie, etc.


Since caffeine stimulates the nervous system, it is essential to cut your caffeine intake. It also leaches calcium, which is essential during pregnancy. When you are depleted of calcium your child is also depleted, and so the fetus draws on your calcium reserves, which in turn decreases your calcium even more. It becomes a vicious cycle. Caffeine is also a diuretic and so there is a risk of being dehydrated. This is especially true if you are experiencing morning sickness. Consuming excessive coffee can in fact lead to it crossing the placenta and affecting your baby.

Processed Foods

Processed foods contain all kinds of preservatives and fillers, which are not healthy and affects the health and wellness of your child. They are usually also high in sugar and sodium (salt), which must be avoided. Rather than processed opt for whole and organic foods, which are much safer and healthier food options.

Bottom line – healthy and balanced food choices result in a much healthier mother and child

First Trimester Pregnancy Nutrition

The initial trimester could be one of great change in many aspects of your life and that includes pregnancy nutrition. Many moms-to-be intend to quickly alter how they eat. The trouble is making drastic changes too quickly can actually backfire on you and ends up causing excessive stress. It is much better to incorporate changes gradually. Let’s take a look at the four basic areas of your first trimester nutrition to get you started on making dietary adjustments without the stress.

It would be wonderful if we knew in advance that we were to conceive. Sure, some pregnancies are planned yet others are not. It would be great because then we could switch to a whole food diet that was organic before we conceived. Since the planned pregnancy isn’t going to happen too often the best we can do is make the switch as soon as we know we are pregnant.

Eliminate all processed foods and as many non-organic foods as possible. That is because processed foods along with non-organic foods that contain pesticides and various other toxins are directly linked to numerous health issues that can affect your child. However, you don’t have look at this as an all or nothing situation. Try your best and remember every little change is a positive change for your baby. A good way to start is to eliminate processed foods from one meal a day and then take baby steps from there.

You need to also eliminate sugar, artificial sweeteners, and caffeine from your diet. Experts agree that 150 mg of caffeine a day is safe for a pregnant woman to have so that’s a good starting point to cut back to. Once achieved you can try to cut it out completely. For anyone with a sweet tooth there are a number of natural sweeteners that you can use such as agave syrup, Stevie, or raw honey.

During the first trimester, morning sickness can be a real problem of your pregnancy. As your body is trying to adjust to hormonal changes, it can be a bit frustrating trying to deal with the nausea that is not always just in the mornings. For nausea that is incapacitating you need to speak with your doctor. However, for many, there are some things that can calm nausea including ginger, eating protein, a handful of nuts, or crackers.

There you have it — a good start to nutrition for your first trimester to keep you and child healthy

Nutrition Guidelines for a Healthy and Balanced Pregnancy

In order to ensure all pregnant women understand what is required to have a healthy and balanced pregnancy and healthy baby, in terms of nutrition, there have been some excellent pregnancy nutrition guidelines established. During pregnancy, an additional 300 calories per day is all you need. You need to make sure that these are not empty calories, and that they are in fact nutritious calories. Let’s have a look at some of those guidelines.

fresh healthy smoothies with vegetables and fruits for pregnant mothers
fresh healthy smoothies with vegetables and fruits for pregnant mothers


During the time, you are pregnant, for your child to grow healthy; you need to have approx. 60 grams of protein on a daily basis. Protein keeps your breasts, uterus, and placenta healthy, it produces adequate amniotic fluid and it increases the volume of blood.


Doctors recommend calcium consumption during pregnancy to range between 1200 to 1500 mg a day. Calcium is vital for your baby’s bones, heart, teeth, and muscles to develop. If you aren’t taking adequate calcium, your baby draws it from your calcium reserves, which means you are at an increased risk for osteoporosis. Milk and milk-based products are good sources of calcium. If you are lactose intolerant, there are lactose free milk products.


Iron is extremely essential in hemoglobin production for both you and your fetus. In the last trimester, your child takes your body’s iron reserves to ensure it is not anemic during the initial six months of life. You additionally lose some blood during the delivery procedure. These are all reasons that it is so crucial to increase your iron consumption.

While your body only needs 27 mgs of iron per day, you actually need to take 60 mg to get that 27 mg because not all iron is absorbed. If you are anemic, you must take an iron supplement. Vitamin C enriched foods help you with your iron absorption. Foods like grapefruits, oranges, and tomato juice work well. Avoid taking your calcium and iron supplements and/or foods at the same time since calcium interferes with iron absorption.


The recommended increase in vitamins is between 25 to 50 percent. Your folic acid need doubles to 400 micrograms per day. Eating a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, etc help to ensure you get adequate vitamins.

Your physician will advise you regarding any other nutritional needs he/she feels you may need in order to ensure a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby.

What Not to Eat When You are Pregnant

You are pregnant– the minute you hear those words all sort of thoughts start going through your mind, and one of the primary ones is what to eat and what not to eat when you are pregnant. After all, you wish to ensure your child is healthy and that you remain healthy and balanced.

It is essential that you avoid foods that high in mercury. Fish are high in protein and omega 3 fatty acids; however mercury is a really genuine concern, especially for your fetus. Excessive mercury has the potential to damage the nervous system of your child. The FDA and EPA recommend avoiding swordfish, shark, King mackerel, and tilefish.

The FDA and EPA claim that 8 to 12 ounces of any of the following seafood are fine for pregnant women to consume. This includes shrimp, salmon, crab, tuna, catfish, tilapia, Pollock and cod. Different doctors have their very own concept of what is safe, so speak with your doctor before consuming seafood during pregnancy.

A pregnant woman must always avoid under cooked meat, eggs and poultry. When you are pregnant, you are at risk of bacterial gastrointestinal disorder. To prevent food borne diseases make sure the meat you consume is entirely cooked. To ensure it is cooked thoroughly use a meat thermometer. You must always cook hot dogs and processed meats until they are steaming hot to avoid diseases such as listeriosis. It’s even better if you avoid processed foods completely.

Do not buy raw poultry that is already packed as this can cause bacteria to grow. If you choose to buy these sorts of products, make sure that they are thoroughly cooked.

Pregnant women must avoid unpasteurized milk, Brie, feta, blue cheese, camembert, or Mexican cheese as all of these can lead to food borne diseases. Eggs should not be fresh but pasteurized as there is also a risk of bacteria.

The majority of these foods do not pose a risk, when you are not pregnant,. However, to your unborn child a bacterial infection or food poisoning can be life threatening. Therefore, the FDA, EPA, and most doctors recommend that you avoid any foods that are considered high risk. It is a good idea to speak with your doctor, whom you trust, regarding what is right for you. Eating a healthy and balanced diet is essential to your health and wellness during your pregnancy, and to your child’s health.

Congratulations on your pregnancy! Of course, the first thing on your mind is to stay healthy throughout your pregnancy. Part of staying healthy and balanced is ensuring you have a pregnancy diet plan that works.

There are a number of reasons why mothers to be need to understand healthy and balanced nutrition is the most essential because of the impact of what you eat has on your child. A healthy and balanced diet benefits both you and your child.

Weight gain goes with being pregnant. In fact, it is a positive thing for both mother and child. This is how nature begins to prepare your body for what is ahead. A healthy and balanced diet is an excellent means to provide the nutrient for appropriate weight gain rather than excessive weight gain. When you gain the correct amount of weight it is much easier to lose after the baby is born.

There has also been a direct connection established between your nutritional health and the effect it has on children later in their life. It’s been established that everything you do in those nine months from your physical activity to the liquids you consume affects your child’s current growth and future growth. What you eat while you are pregnant has the potential to prevent future health issues with your child and you. And naturally, the food you consume now influences your weight gain throughout your pregnancy.

During the initial trimester, it is essential that you restrict any excess calorie intake. After the first 12 weeks pass, you can add an additional 300 calories per day along with your regular calorie intake.

You should expect to gain 25 to 35 pounds during your pregnancy, if you are of normal weight. You need to limit your weight gain to no more than 5-10 pounds in the initial 20 weeks, and following that a pound per week. Doctors advise that you lose some weight before conceiving if you are obese. This makes it easier for you to keep extra weight off during your pregnancy and to lose it after the birth. Statistically women who are obese have a significantly greater emergency cesarean rate, miscarriage rate, more incidents of gestational diabetes and suffer from high blood pressure.

Strawberries blueberries blackberries and raspberries are excellent during pregnancy
Strawberries blueberries blackberries and raspberries are excellent during pregnancy

To considerably increase the possibility of a healthy pregnancy make sure that you consume a nutritional diet regimen, high in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and protein, while avoiding processed foods.

If you are already consuming a healthy and balanced diet, there may only be small changes you need to make to your diet regimen to ensure you are consuming right for the next nine months. These five key principles ensure that you stay fit and healthy, and that the child gets all the nutrients he or she needs to grow to be strong and healthy.

# 1 Drink Plenty of Water

For a healthy pregnancy, it is vital that you consume sufficient water, as it helps to flush the toxins from your body and fight water retention. Water also helps with constipation and headaches associated with pregnancy.

# 2 Avoid Processed Foods

The most effective way to begin your pregnancy is with appropriate nutrition. That includes the elimination of processed foods that are high in fillers, sodium (salt), and preservatives, that potentially pose a risk to the child. Additionally, you are far more likely to gain extra water and suffer with fluid retention when your diet contains processed foods. Rather, opt for healthy and balanced, whole food options that are good for you and the child.

# 3 Buy Organic

Organic foods are becoming more readily available and they are additionally becoming much more affordable. Therefore, your objective should be to buy organic whenever possible. This is especially true when it pertains to dairy products, meats, and eggs. Organic foods are higher in fatty acids and amino acids than the non-organic version. When it pertains to fruits and vegetables at least ensure that those with the highest pesticide concentrations are avoided. These are peaches, celery, blueberries, apples, strawberries, spinach, bell peppers, kale, cherries, grapes, and potatoes.

# 4 Eat Vegetable with Every Meal

As you get further along in your pregnancy it becomes even more essential to ensure that you consume vegetables with every meal. They are high in fiber that helps with constipation associated with pregnancy. You’ll also feel fuller and you’ll get tons of nutrients.

# 5 Every Meal Must Include Healthy Fats

Healthy fats include olive oil, coconut oil, organic butter, raw nuts, nut butters, and avocado. These fats help you to feel full while providing you with nutrients, and they provide the kind of healthy fats that help with your child’s cognitive development.

Nutrition for a Healthy Mother and Child

Being pregnant is a jubilant time, however, for many it’s a scary time with preeclampsia, pregnancy caused hypertension, toxemia, and various other problems. While you may not be able to prevent problems during your pregnancy, there are some nutritional things you can do to reduce your risk. Let’s have a look at some of those eating approaches.

* You should never be reluctant about dairy products because as a mother to be you need a minimum of 4 servings or 1000-1300 mg of calcium daily. You also need a minimum of 4000 IU’s of Vitamin D3 per day.

* Iron is extremely essential during pregnancy. You need to get at the very least 27 mg a day. You can boost your iron by taking an iron supplement. In fact, your doctor may advise you to do so. The leading foods for iron are:

o Artichokes

o Beans, chick peas, lentils and soybeans

o Dark, leafy greens (spinach, collards)

o Dried fruit (prunes, raisins)

o Egg yolks

o Iron-enriched cereals and grains

o Liver

o Mollusks (clams, oysters, scallops)

o Red meat

o Turkey or chicken giblets

* Pregnant women need a minimum of 70 mg of Vitamin C every day. Vitamin C helps to fight infection and keep you healthy and balanced. Some good sources of Vitamin C include:

o Oranges

o Strawberries

o Tomatoes

o Broccoli

o Dark Leafy Greens

* You may have big food cravings but at the same time, you need to decrease your fat consumption so that it is no more than 30 percent of your total daily calorie consumption.

Make sure to read labels

* Omega 3s are essential for the development of your child’s vision and brain.

* Easy on the mayo or cheese restricting your cholesterol to 300 mg a day.

* Protein develops every cell of your child. You need to consume 80 to 100 grams of protein a day. If you find that the smell of meat makes you sick, remember that you can obtain your protein from consuming a whey protein shake.

As a mothers-to-be, you’re likely more cautious about what you eat. Early on that might be focused around morning sickness, but as time goes on its becomes a concern to ensure that you are eating nutritiously. So, the diet of a pregnant woman should look like.

* Foods that is rich in protein such as eggs, chicken, lean meats and legumes (i.e. beans, lentils, edamame, chickpeas, etc.).

* Fruits and vegetables– fresh is always preferred. Various other options include dried, frozen, and canned. Berries are rich in antioxidants. A diet regimen that consists of a good balance of fruits and vegetables is preferred.

* Foods rich in starch such as potatoes, pasta, bread, and rice.

* Dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese.

* Water in plenty to eliminate toxins from the body.

Sources of Folic Acid

During pregnancy folic acid consumption is essential because it helps to protect an unborn child from developing neural tube defects like spina bifida. The following are good sources of folic acid.

* Vegetables including avocados, endives, green peas, broccoli, baby carrots, seaweed (algae), cauliflower, parsley, spinach, Brussels sprouts, mustard greens, beetroots, Romaine lettuce, and asparagus.

* Legumes including Romano beans, black beans, lentils, white beans, edamame, kidney beans, chickpeas, and pinto beans.

* Bread, pasta, and bagels made from enriched wheat flour.

* Fruits and berries such as strawberries, raspberries, kiwis, blackberries, and clementine.

* Seeds and nuts such as sunflower seeds, peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, almonds, and walnuts.

eat lots of fruits during pregnancy to fulfill nutrition requirements
eat lots of fruits during pregnancy to fulfill nutrition requirements

* Juices including orange juice and pineapple juice from concentrate.

* Enriched breakfast cereals.


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