U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Eat Healthy During Pregnancy: Quick tips

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, calcium, and folic acid.
  • If you are feeling sick, start with a piece of 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, whole-wheat bread, and oatmeal
  • Beans, like black beans and kidney beans

Choose healthy snacks.

  • Low-fat or fat-free yogurt with fruit (choose options with less added sugar)
  • Whole-grain crackers with fat-free or low-fat cheese
  • Carrots with hummus

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 growing 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 raw fish and meat, 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), unless they are pasteurized
  • 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. No amount of alcohol is safe during pregnancy.