Pregnancy Food & Diet : Foods to Eat & Avoid During Pregnancy

food to eat during pregnancy

Pregnancy demands an increased, better, and healthier diet than usual. Your gynecologist will prepare a chart for foods to avoid during pregnancy.

However, it’s often difficult to keep track of what foods are safe during pregnancy and which ones you should avoid.

Certain things are obvious like alcohol is a big no for pregnant ladies. But liquor isn’t the only thing that poses a threat to your baby’s health.

If you are a steak or coffee fan, you may have to limit or totally avoid these during pregnancy. In this post, we have discussed healthy vs. unhealthy foods for a pregnant woman. Keep reading.

Table of Contents

Best Foods to Eat While Pregnant

A healthy and balanced diet is a combination of animal and plant-based protein and foods rich in the essential nutrients for a healthy pregnancy.

pregnancy foods to eat

Fruits and Veggies

Research shows that 90% of the American population doesn’t get adequate amounts of vegetables and fruits daily.

You should eat at least 2.5 cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruits daily to meet the requirements of essential vitamins and nutrients. You can eat a combination of canned, frozen, and fresh whole fruits to meet this target.

Best Fruits for Pregnancy

  • Apricots: Rich in calcium helps your bones and teeth grow. Apricots are also a great source of potassium, vitamins A, C, E, and phosphorus—all of which work together to prevent anemia.
  • Oranges: Good source of vitamin C and folate. It prevents dehydration and promotes faster and easier absorption of iron.
  • Mangoes: Excellent source of vitamin A, the deficiency of which makes your baby vulnerable to immunity problems and postnatal complications.
  • Pears: Potassium in pears improves the cardiovascular health of the mother and fetus. This fiber-rich fruit prevents constipation, a common condition among pregnant women.
  • Bananas: Vitamin C, B6, fiber, and potassium in bananas can ease your pregnancy symptoms, such as nausea and morning sickness. It also keeps constipation at bay.

In addition to the above, you should add lots of dried fruits to your diet. They contain vital vitamins and minerals that provide energy and a lot of fiber, which are healthy for your fetus’ growth.

Fruits to Avoid During Pregnancy

avoid papaya during pregnancy

Certain fruits are not safe for the mother of the fetus’ health during pregnancy. If eaten in excess quantity, these fruits can lead to complications, like a miscarriage.

Here are some fruits to avoid during pregnancy.

  • Papaya: Papaya is a rich source of latex, which might lead to bleeding and uterine contractions. They also raise your body’s temperature. Ripe and unripe papayas are generally healthy but can cause pregnancy complications.
  • Watermelon: Women at an increased risk of gestational diabetes or are already diagnosed with this medical condition must avoid large portions of watermelon. Sliced watermelon, especially, is highly unhealthy for the mother and the fetus during early pregnancy.
  • Pineapple: Pineapples can cause dehydration and diarrhea when eaten in large portions. This fruit contains a high level of bromelain, a compound known for triggering uterine contractions in pregnant women. This might result in early labor.

Dairy Products


Pregnancy demands a high intake of calcium and protein to cater to the growth requirements of the fetus. You can get these nutrients from dairy products.

They contain high amounts of calcium, phosphorus, zinc, and essential vitamins. Some products are also rich in probiotic bacteria, which promote healthy digestive function.

If you are lactose intolerant, ask your dietician to recommend alternatives to dairy products.



Another great source of healthy nutrients for your pregnancy is legumes. They include peas, beans, lentils, soybeans, and peanuts. Legumes are a rich source of folate (Vitamin B9).

These are quite important for you and the baby, especially in the first trimester.

Some gynecologists recommend legumes before you get pregnant. A pregnant woman needs 600 micrograms of folate every day.

A combination of legumes and supplementations can help you achieve your daily folate target. In addition to folate, legumes are a rich source of fiber.

Lean Meat and Proteins

Lean Meat and Proteins

Lean beef and chicken are rich sources of protein, iron, and B vitamins. You need all these nutrients in higher amounts during pregnancy.

You also need iron-rich foods in your third trimester, so adding lean meat to your diet is a must. If your food lacks adequate iron, you will be at an increased risk of iron deficiency, which leads to anemia.

This may cause complications in your pregnancy. You should eat lean meats with foods rich in Vitamin C to ensure quick absorption of iron.

Whole Grains

Pregnancy is the perfect time for a transition from refined to whole grains.

Whole grains, such as quinoa, wheat, and barley, are whole grains rich in fiber and essential vitamins.

There are dozens of ways to add whole grains to your diet. You can add them to the roasted sweet potato bowl or prepare other dishes containing fair amounts of whole grains.



If you are not in the mood to eat a variety of foods to get the required level of the right nutrients, try eggs.

They contain a fair amount of many essential ingredients that promote a healthy pregnancy and fetus growth.

A single egg has approx 80 calories, good fats, protein, and important vitamins that play a pivotal role in keeping you healthy and energetic throughout the day.

In addition, an egg contains 147 milligrams of choline, which helps you achieve your 450 mg choline intake requirements a day.

A lot of changes happen in your body during pregnancy. Your gynecologist might prepare your diet plan and recommend some supplements to ensure that you get the right level of nutrients from food for better fetus growth.

One thing is for sure—your body needs a lot of water to stay hydrated throughout the day. Watch your water intake.

A pregnant woman needs 2.3 liters of water a day to relieve constipation and urinary tract infections, which are quite common during pregnancy.

Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy

Foods containing enzymes that might interfere with your fetus’ growth or pose any threat to the mother or the baby must be avoided.

Below we have created a list of the foods to avoid during pregnancy. Let’s take a look.

Mercury Fish

Mercury Fish

Mercury is one of the most harmful elements found in polluted water.

Certain varieties of fish contain high amounts of mercury, making them unsafe for pregnant and breastfeeding ladies.

Even small quantities of mercury can pose serious health threats, especially to your kidneys and immune system.

As a general rule, you should avoid all kinds of large fish found in polluted water. A few are tuna, marlin, shark, and king mackerel.

That being said, some types of fish are incredibly healthy for pregnant women.

These are low in mercury and rich in vitamins and minerals that keep you and the baby healthy. Salmon, trout, and anchovies are a few examples of fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

Raw and Processed Meat

Processed Meat

Raw meat contains several parasites and bacteria that increase your risk of developing an infection.

The risk is higher for pregnant women. The bacteria can be found on the surface of raw or uncooked meat, while some reside in muscle fibers.

The same goes for processed meat. Pregnant women and people, in general, must not eat processed meat until it’s cooked and heated thoroughly.

Raw Eggs

Like raw meat, raw eggs contain a bacteria called salmonella, which causes salmonella fever.

The symptoms are diarrhea, vomiting, cramps, and in some cases, an infection that can cause miscarriage or premature birth. Raw eggs are mostly used in homemade ice creams, cakes, sauces, and salad dressings.

Avoid foods containing raw eggs. When buying packaged foods, check the ingredient label to ensure they don’t have raw eggs.


While all the above foods can be avoided, caffeine addiction is pretty serious.

If you are someone whose day doesn’t start with a strong cup of coffee or tea, you are not alone.

However, caffeine is not healthy for your pregnancy. Doctors advise pregnant women to limit their caffeine intake to 200 milligrams a day or less if possible.

Caffeine is absorbed fairly quickly and is transferred into the placenta, which may inhibit the fetus’ growth and increase the risk of premature birth or low-weight babies.

Unwashed Fruits and Vegetables

Unwashed Fruits and Vegetables

Whole fruits and vegetables must always be washed before consumption.

Their surface contains parasites that can cause infection, fever, and pregnancy complications.

Toxoplasma is one such bacteria that might linger on the surface of fruits and vegetables. This may cause no symptoms at all in some people, while others might develop flu.

Pregnant women should especially avoid these fruits, as they harm the child’s health.

This increases the risk of brain damage or intellectual issues in newborns immediately after birth or when they become adults.

Always wash fruits thoroughly, peel them, and cook them before eating.


Pregnant women must avoid the above foods before, during, and after pregnancy. If you are unsure about the safe foods for pregnancy, reach out to a dietician to have a diet chart prepared for all trimesters.

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