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The Pregnancy Food Guide

October 01 2010

The Pregnancy Food GuideIntroduction
What you choose to eat when youíre pregnant may influence you and your babyís health now and for years to come. Pregnancy is a good time to review your nutrition.

Food Safety and Preparation
When youíre pregnant, youíre at an increased risk for foodborne illness because hormonal changes during pregnancy weaken your immune system.

Remember to:

  • Wash your hands before and after food preparation
  • Cook well and properly handle meat, fish, eggs and poultry. Eggs should be cooked until firm.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables well


  • Unpasteurized brie, feta, camembert, blue cheese and all soft cheeses
  • Shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish and solid white albacore tuna because they contain mercury
  • Unpasteurized milk and juice
  • Cold cuts (unless reheated to steaming hot)
  • Cooked foods and foods requiring refrigeration that have been left unrefrigerated for more than two hours

Download Free eBook: The Pregnancy Food Guide

PDF format, 2.6MB, 7Pages.

Developed by a scientific panel organized by the Brigham and Womenís Hospital, a Harvard teaching affiliate.

This education material was supported by a grant from the Egg Nutrition Center.

Frequently Asked Questions
Can I get enough calcium if I do not drink milk?
Yes. In addition to milk, you can also get calcium in fortified orange juice, cheese, yogurt, sardines, soups cooked with bones or through a calcium supplement.

Are artificial sweeteners safe to use while I am pregnant?
Yes, except saccharin.

I am a vegetarian. Do I have to eat meat?
There are many alternative sources of protein such as dairy products, soy beans and nuts. See a registered dietitian (R.D.) to address your individual needs.

How can I reduce my constipation?
Drink 8 glasses of water a day. Have 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Include whole grains in each meal and snack. Be active every day.

Can I eat spicy food while I am pregnant or breastfeeding?
Yes, if it is comfortable for you. Spicy foods will not harm your baby.

Can I have caffeine?
Limit your caffeine to 1 small cup of coffee (10 ounces) or 2 cups of light tea (20 ounces) a day.

Can I eat eggs when I'm pregnant?
Yes. Eggs are a low-cost, nutritious food to eat when pregnant. Eggs provide the highest quality protein available, along with 18 vitamins and minerals. Eggs are also an excellent source of choline, a nutrient that, when consumed during pregnancy, may be key in the brain development and life-long memory capacity of your infant. As always, do not eat raw or undercooked eggs.

How are my nutrition needs different if I am pregnant with twins?
You should eat a meal or snack every two hours while awake and consult with a registered dietitian (R.D.) about your individual needs.

Iíve heard I canít drink alcohol while Iím pregnant or breastfeeding. Is that true?
Do not drink alcohol while you are pregnant. During lactation, if you choose to have a drink, wait a few hours before nursing.

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