U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


Eat Healthy During Pregnancy: Quick tips

Making smart food choices can help you have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.

Don’t forget breakfast.

  • Try fortified ready-to-eat or cooked breakfast cereals with fruit. Fortified cereals have added nutrients, like iron or calcium.
  • If you are feeling sick, start with 100% whole-grain toast. Eat more food later in the morning.

Eat foods with fiber.

  • Vegetables and fruits, like green peas, spinach, pears, and bananas
  • Whole grains, like brown rice and oatmeal
  • Beans, like black beans and kidney beans

Choose healthy snacks.

  • Low-fat or fat-free yogurt with fruit
  • Whole-grain crackers with fat-free or low-fat cheese

Take a prenatal vitamin with iron and folic acid every day.

Iron keeps your blood healthy. Folic acid helps prevent some birth defects. Talk with your doctor or nurse about a prenatal vitamin that’s right for you.

Eat 8 to 12 ounces of seafood each week.

Fish and shellfish have nutrients that are good for your unborn baby. Eat a variety of seafood 2 or 3 times a week. A 3-ounce serving is about the size of a deck of cards.

Healthy choices include:

  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Shrimp
  • Canned light tuna
  • White (albacore) tuna – no more than 6 ounces a week

Avoid fish that are high in mercury, especially swordfish, tilefish, shark, and king mackerel. Mercury is a metal that can hurt your baby’s development.

Stay away from soft cheeses and lunch meats.

These foods may have bacteria in them that can hurt your baby. Don’t eat:

  • Raw (uncooked) fish, like sushi
  • Soft cheeses like feta, Brie, and goat cheese
  • Raw or rare (undercooked) meats
  • Lunch meats and hot dogs, unless they are heated until steaming hot

Limit caffeine and avoid alcohol.

  • Drink decaffeinated coffee or tea.
  • Drink water or seltzer instead of soda.
  • Don’t drink alcohol.
Eat Healthy During Pregnancy: Quick tips

Content last updated on:
December 31, 2014