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Healthy Eating During Pregnancy: What to Eat And What Not to Eat?

Pregnancy is a wonderful and joyous experience. But have you ever noticed that when people find out you’re expecting, they take it as a sign to give all sorts of advice? Quite often (sometimes even without you asking), people start giving you inputs on what you should do and eat during pregnancy.


Unsplash | There’s often much confusion around what a pregnant woman should and shouldn’t eat

While their concern is appreciable, what’s problematic is that with so much information flowing in, it becomes quite difficult to analyze what would work best for you and your baby. After all, every woman’s body is different, and so are every unborn child’s needs.

Cutting through the noise and focusing on experts’ recommendations, we’ve compiled some pregnancy food rules that are worth paying attention to. Have a look.

Read – Can Pregnant People Get COVID-19 Vaccine?

Nutrients you need more during pregnancy

Folic acid

Folate is a vitamin that helps to prevent neural tube defects in your baby. These are more likely to occur during the early stages of pregnancy. As per the ACOG guidelines, pregnant women should consume 600 micrograms of folate daily.

But that much amount is difficult to get from food sources. Hence experts recommend supplementing with prenatal vitamins starting at least one month before you start trying to be pregnant and continuing for the first three months.


Your body needs iron to transport oxygen through your blood, and during pregnancy, this requirement increases manifold. If you don’t get enough iron, you’re more likely to develop anemia resulting in generalized weakness. Consuming iron-rich foods like red meat, poultry, spinach, soybeans, and vitamin C-rich foods allows better absorption of iron.

Read – Pregnancy-Friendly Iron-Rich Foods


Unsplash | Doctors suggest including appropriate measures of folate and iron in the diet

Foods to avoid during pregnancy

High mercury fish

Fish, being rich in proteins and omega-3 fatty acids, is considered to be an excellent food to have in pregnancy. Omega-3 fatty acids help your baby’s brain to develop. And hence it’s recommended that you have at least 2 servings of fish per week. However, on the flip side, fish containing excessive mercury, like swordfish, marlin, shark, and tilefish, can cause birth defects and hence should be completely avoided in pregnancy.

Unpasteurized dairy products

The problem with the consumption of these foods is that all of them come with a high risk of contamination. For instance, unpasteurized products often carry listeria and other diseases, and food like hot dogs and lunch meat, when left in the open without refrigeration, increases the risk of getting infected. That being said, it is also true that you can get food poisoning from any food. It’s just that it tends to happen more frequently with these foods.


Dreamstime | Consuming raw food, especially meat and unpasteurized dairy, should be avoided

Summing it up

Yes, in your pregnancy, you’re “eating for two,” but that doesn’t mean you ought to double the quantity of food you eat. Your calorie intake, too doesn’t need to increase all of a sudden. All you need to take care of is taking the required nutrients in the proper quantities.

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