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.
- 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.