Categories: Conditions

What should I eat during pregnancy?


Discover what you should eat during pregnancy.

Most women are concerned with eating the best foods during pregnancy, especially to ensure that their children develop healthy and to maintain the ideal weight.

Therefore, and taking into account the abundance of messages that currently appear in the media about what to drink and what to avoid, it is worth describing a balanced diet during pregnancy.

A healthy start

Normally, the ideal is that the expectant mother prepares for pregnancy several months before, by stopping alcohol, following a balanced and varied diet, and taking folic acid supplements from the moment she begins to seek pregnancy.


But if the pregnancy has come by surprise, don’t worry. It is not too late to give your child the best nutrition to grow up healthy.

In general, the same rules of a healthy diet that you would at any other time in your life apply to pregnancy. It is recognized that the recommended daily requirements, with the exception of iron, can be obtained by following a balanced diet.

At most, a mother should increase her intake by as little as 300 calories a day to compensate for her pregnancy.

Foods during pregnancy

Basically, eat balanced meals according to the following guidelines:


Bread, other cereals and potatoes .

These foods should represent 70% of your diet. Whenever possible, choose whole varieties of these products as they contain more fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Fruits and vegetables.

These include fresh, frozen, and canned varieties, green salads, beans and lentils, nuts, and fruit juice.

Take at least five servings a day of fruit and vegetables (remember, take the amount you take, fruit juice only counts as one serving).


Alternative meats, fish, and foods (including eggs, nuts, and legumes). All of them are a source of protein, vitamins and minerals. Try to eat two or three servings a day.

Fresh milk and dairy products.

They will provide you with calcium and protein, so you should try to take two or three servings a day. Of course, choose the low-calorie versions of these products.

Foods that contain fat and sugar.

You should keep the consumption of these types of foods to a minimum. A small, occasional luxury, like having a couple of chocolates, in the context of a healthy diet will not do you any harm (neither will your child).

Food for two?

Pregnancy is not a license to start repeating servings of chocolate cakes or other types of foods high in fat or sugar. If you do, you will end up gaining a lot of weight, an overweight that will be very difficult to lose once you have the baby.


As a general rule, the weight gain in a pregnancy should not exceed 13 kgr (although this is an individual question in each pregnancy and you should not obsess over it).

A normal weight woman does not need extra calories during the first six months of pregnancy. This is because the body becomes very efficient in absorbing and using nutrients from food.

For the last three months of pregnancy, the baby will only need you to increase your diet by about 300 kilocalories, equivalent to four apples or two pieces of bread.

“According to various specialists, it is not necessary to take vitamin supplements. Many of these supplements contain high doses of vitamins, the effect that these can have on the fetus is still unknown. ”


Gain weight

If you’ve been following a strict calorie diet, now is the time to give it up. It is not highly recommended to try to lose weight while you are pregnant, unless your doctor has indicated it, since if the fetus does not receive enough nutrients, it will obtain them from the maternal deposits, endangering the health of the mother, and therefore , his own.

The recommended calorie intake is around 2000 kcal / day until the last three months of pregnancy.

Pregnant women are often advised to eat according to their appetite while paying attention to weight gain.

The dietary recommendations are similar to the current ones for the general population:


•If possible, reduce fast-absorbing carbohydrates and replace them with slow-absorbing ones.

•Reduce your intake of saturated fat and cholesterol.

•Increase intake of fruits and vegetables.

Food for two


Although you don’t “eat for two” in terms of calories, it is true that you do need to “eat for two” when it comes to nutrients. You are responsible for providing the correct nutrition for your baby through what you eat.

As good as eating a balanced diet, there are certain nutrients that are particularly important for your baby’s growth. This is even more important if you follow a special diet, for example, if you are a vegetarian.

Nutrients needed during pregnancy

Below details are what these nutrients are, as well as why they are important and what foods you should include in your diet to make sure you get the most of them.


Importance in: Development of the baby’s teeth and bones.


Found in: You need at least 700-800mg. a day (a yogurt or a long glass of milk). As in fresh dairy products, calcium is found in the following foods: dark green leafy vegetables, bread, legumes, nuts, oily fish, cooked beans, walnuts, sesame seeds, fortified soy milk, and juice enriched orange.



Importance in: Formation of red blood cells in the blood. For you and for the baby.

Found in: Lean red meat, sardines, dark green vegetables, beans, lentils, eggs, nuts, dried fruits, whole wheat bread, and breakfast cereals.

Folic acid.

Importance in: Development of the baby’s organs and tissues. Reduces the risk of spinal defects like spina bifida.


Found in: Enriched cereals and bread, green and orange vegetables.

Vitamin C.

Importance in: Iron absorption and boost immune system.

It is found in: Most fruits and vegetables: the main sources of vitamin C are citrus fruits and their juices.

Vitamin D.

Importance in: Helps absorb calcium.


Found in: Herring, tuna in oil, eggs, milk, butter, margarine, and low-fat dressing sauces.

Omega-3 essential fatty acids.

Importance in: Baby’s brain and development of the nervous system in the final stage of pregnancy.

Found in: Cold-water blue fish (mackerel, herring, salmon, sardines). Try to eat at least one serving a week.

B12 vitamin.

Importance in: To have healthy blood.


Found in: The only non-animal source is seaweed. It is also found in fortified foods such as breakfast cereals.

Do I need folic acid supplements?

Yes. Most women’s diets include some folic acid (or folates) because it is found in fortified forms of breakfast cereals and various types of bread, and naturally in other sources such as vegetables and oranges.

It is recommended that all women considering pregnancy and those in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy take folic acid supplements (400 micrograms, written as 400 mcg).

They should also continue to take around 300 mcg. in the usual diet. Some foods high in folic acid are:


Brussels sprouts (90g): 100 Mcg.

Spinach (90g): 80 Mcg.

Green beans (90g): 50 Mcg.

Frozen peas (90g): 40 Mcg.


Two slices of enriched grain soft bread: 105 Mcg.

Two slices of whole wheat bread: 40. Mcg.

Should I Take Other Supplements?

According to various specialists, it is not necessary to take vitamin supplements. As long as you eat a balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, and as long as you have a good appetite, no other supplements are necessary.

In fact, it is somewhat risky to do so. Many of the supplements contain high doses of vitamins, the effect that these can have on the fetus is still unknown.


However, there are some circumstances in which supplements can be beneficial. For example, if you are a vegetarian, you should consider taking an iron supplement, as iron is not so easily absorbed from foods other than red meat.

What should I avoid?

There are certain aspects that you should avoid during pregnancy for the correct development of the future baby. Among them:

Alcohol . Better to avoid it. Try cutting out the alcohol entirely and obviously don’t get drunk. It is advisable not to drink more than one or two units (the equivalent of one unit is a 120 ml glass of wine, a glass of beer or a glass of liquor) once or twice a week.

High vitamin A intake . Such consumption can harm your baby. It is better not to take liver or cod liver oil as they are rich in vitamin A. The type of vitamin A found in fruit and vegetables can be taken without problems.


Raw or undercooked eggs can contain Salmonella bacteria, which can cause acute gastrointestinal disorders. Cook the eggs until the yolk and white are solid, and avoid homemade mayonnaise, ice cream, cheesecakes, and mousse.

Cured and soft cheeses such as Brie, Cambozola, Camembert, and different types of blue cheese occasionally contain the bacteria listeria, which can cause miscarriage or stillbirth.

Pate should also be avoided as it can also contain Listeria. It is advisable to avoid crustaceans as they can alter other foods.

Groundnuts . There is a theory that a peanut allergy can be caused by being exposed to them at an early age. Today it is postulated that if you, the father of the baby or one of the older children suffer from asthma, eczema, allergic rhinitis, or allergies to certain foods, it is advisable to avoid peanuts and any other product that contains them while you are pregnant.


Caffeine. There is no problem in taking moderate amounts. Caffeine consumption becomes worrying if you exceed five coffees a day.


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