You should consume only about 300 more calories per day than you did before you became pregnant. Eat a variety of foods to get all the nutrients you need.
Foods to Eat:
Seafood: Seafood can be a great source of protein and iron, and the omega-3 fatty acids in many fish can help promote your baby’s brain development. Try to eat 1-2 average sized portions per week of any of the fish listed below:
- Canned light tuna (limit albacore tuna and tuna steak to no more than 6 ounces or 170 grams a week)
Dairy: Eat and drink at least four servings of dairy products and calcium-rich foods a day to help ensure that you are getting 1000-1300 mg of calcium in your daily diet during pregnancy.
The best sources of calcium are dairy products including milk, cheese, yogurt, cream soups, and pudding. Calcium is also found in foods including green vegetables (broccoli, spinach, and greens), seafood, dried peas, and beans.
Vitamin D will help your body use calcium. Adequate amounts of vitamin D can be obtained through exposure to the sun and in fortified milk, eggs, and fish.
Iron: Eat at least three servings of iron-rich foods per day to ensure you are getting 27 mg of iron daily. The best sources of iron include enriched grain products, lean meat, poultry, fish, and leafy green vegetables. Total brand cereal has 18mg of Iron
Foods to Limit:
Caffeine: Limit caffeine to no more than 300 mg per day. The caffeine content in various drinks depends on the beans or leaves used and how it was prepared. An 8-ounce cup of coffee has about 150 mg of caffeine on average while black tea has typically about 80 mg. A 12-ounce glass of caffeinated soda contains anywhere from 30-60 mg of caffeine. Remember, chocolate contains caffeine — the amount of caffeine in a chocolate bar is equal to 1/4 cup of coffee.
Artificial Sweeteners: The use of saccharin is strongly discouraged during pregnancy because it can cross the placenta and may remain in fetal tissues. But, the use of other non-nutritive or artificial sweeteners approved by the FDA is acceptable during pregnancy. These FDA-approved sweeteners include aspartame (Equal or NutraSweet), acesulfame-K (Sunett), and sucralose (Splenda). These sweeteners are considered safe in moderation
Foods to Avoid:
Avoid soft cheeses: such as feta, Brie, Camembert, blue-veined, and Mexican-style cheese. These cheeses are often unpasteurized and may cause Listeria infection. There’s no need to avoid hard cheese, processed cheese, cream cheese, cottage cheese, or yogurt. All soft non-imported cheeses made with pasteurized milk are safe to eat.
Unpasteurized Milk: Unpasteurized milk may contain bacteria called listeria, which can cause miscarriage. Listeria has the ability to cross the placenta and may infect the baby leading to infection or blood poisoning, which can be life-threatening. Make sure that any milk you drink is pasteurized.
In addition, during pregnancy, some women feel strong urges to eat non-food items such as ice, laundry starch, dirt, clay, chalk, ashes, or paint chips. This is called pica, and it may be associated with an iron deficiency such as anemia. Do not give in to these non-food cravings — they can be harmful to both you and your baby. Tell your health care provider if you have these non-food cravings.
Raw Meat: Uncooked seafood and rare or undercooked beef or poultry should be avoided because of the risk of contamination with coliform bacteria, toxoplasmosis, and salmonella. Avoid deli meats (“cold cuts”) as well or warm them until they are steaming before you eat them.
Avoid raw fish, especially shellfish like oysters and clams. Fish that contain high levels of mercury such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, or tilefish (also called white snapper), should be avoided as well. Mercury consumed during pregnancy has been linked to developmental delays and brain damage. Canned, chunk light tuna generally has a lower amount of mercury than other tuna, but still should only be eaten in moderation in proportions as written above. Certain types of fish used in sushi should also be avoided due to high levels of mercury.