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What to Eat When Pregnant and What to NOT Eat When Pregnant

Updated on January 16, 2015

First of All, Congratulations!

Pregnancy and the ability to create life is one of the greatest gifts God has given to us. For 9 whole months, a newborn life will be nurtured within the mother's womb and in the end create the miracle of new life. Deciding what to eat and what to not eat when pregnant will have a substantial factor in the health of your baby.

There are certain steps to ease these 9 months and certain foods to consume and not consume to ensure your baby will be strong and healthy during the giving of birth.

Photo taken by Badruddeen
Photo taken by Badruddeen

Foods You Should Eat When Pregnant

  • Omega 3 is absolutely essential for the development of the nervous system and the. Your intake of omega 3 should be more than your average intake as now you will need enough omega 3 for two people. It is very easy to ingest omega 3 either from salmon, flaxseed, anchovies or omega 3 capsules. There are other fishes that are great sources of omega 3, but may also contain mercury. This will be explained in the next section "Food NOT to Eat During Pregnancy"
  • The next vital nutrient is Calcium. This is needed for bone development and if you are calcium deficient, the fetus' skeletal structure may not properly form or join. Thankfully, the general population has a sufficient intake on calcium through drinking milk and the consumption of dairy products.
  • Vitamin D goes hand in hand with calcium. To ensure strong bones and healthy teeth after birth, the baby's ability to absorb calcium is very important. Foods such as bread and cereals are good, and also fortified milk.
  • Fiber will make sure the glucose in your blood is released evenly to ensure you will not have unexpected hikes in energy or sudden lows. In addition, fiber will relieve common issues such as constipation. A further step could be to perform pregnancy safe exercises to increase bowel movement such as hot yoga. If you are looking to increase your intake of fiber, look out for vegetables, fruits and whole grain food.
  • The production of blood and cells require Protein. This is generally not considered a problem due to the normal consumption of meat and eggs, and for vegetarians; all types of beans and bean products such as tofu.
  • Iron is also needed to produce red blood cells. You can increase the consumption of iron through foods such as spinach and red meat. Iron recommendations is greatly increased, nearly double the amount normally during the first trimester. However, soon to be mothers will not require as much iron after this first trimester due to the temporary halt of periods and the loss of nutrients due to this.
  • Vitamin B6 is required during the formation of red blood cells. This vitamin ensures the right use of other macro nutrients such as fat, carbohydrate and protein. Whole grains, bananas and pork is great for vitamin B6.
  • To ensure you baby grows healthy bones and gums, Vitamin C is essential. This also helps with the absorption of iron. It is very easy to eat foods high in vitamin C such as orange, tomatoes or citrus fruit juice.

What Not to Eat During Pregnancy

  • One of the most common foods we eat or drink is coffee. Caffeine can have very adverse effects during pregnancy. If caffeine is taken more than 200 mg as research suggests, miscarriage risks are greatly increased. This is merely 2 cups of coffee.
  • As stated earlier, omega 3 is very good to consume during pregnancy, and the most abundant sources of omega 3 is fish. However, certain fish especially large game fish contains very small amounts of mercury. This tiny amount of mercury can be absorbed into your bloodstream and is absolutely harmless to adults and even children. It is the growing baby and fetuses that are affected. Mercury can greatly disrupt the development of the brain due to the neurotoxin. Large game fish will have particularly high amounts of mercury such as swordfish, tuna, shark and marlin. Large game fish having higher amounts of mercury is due to how the food chain works. General mercury pollution is released in waterways and oceans and into marine plant life which krill and small fish feed upon and therefore contain a tiny amount of that mercury. As we move up the food chain, more and more mercury is accumulated and the final result is all the mercury concentrated on the large game fish.
  • Vitamin A is not needed as much as other vitamins and minerals and too much can actually do damage to you and your baby. A good diet will ensure you receive enough vitamin A and there is no need to go out of your way to consume foods rich in this vitamin such as liver (including pâté) or carrots.
  • There is no certain safe level of Alcohol one is allowed to consume while pregnant. Simply stay away from it. Think about it, 9 months could be the difference between a healthy baby and one with some sort of physical or mental disability. The legal drinking age in most countries is either 18 or 21. When you drink, your baby inside you will also be consuming alcohol directly. If we don't allow 18 or 21 year olds to drink, who would let babies less than 9 month old to consume alcohol?
  • Drugs and Smoking is very similar to alcohol. Just don't do it. Of course, to many this is easier said than done, but every single time the mother smokes or does drugs, the baby will also be smoking and doing drugs. Would you let a 9 month old baby to smoke a cigarette? 

Are You and Your Baby on the Right Track?

Make sure to have frequent check ups with your doctor. This will ensure you are eating the right foods and doing everything you can to give birth to a healthy baby.


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    • profile image

      adham 6 years ago

      nice ideas

    • profile image

      silki 6 years ago

      good i d"tknow that coffee is harmful in pregnency thank u

    • profile image

      masego 7 years ago

      good guidens i didn't know that when pregnat u need to food eat or not .

    • Dr. Poeta Diablo profile image

      Dr. Poeta Diablo 7 years ago from Washington

      Hey Susan2010, your extra prenatal vitamins should consist of the majority of the vital nutrients you will need. Does your diet consist of plenty of small game fish such as sardines or salmon, or possibly plenty of nuts and seeds? If it does you should have an ample intake of omega 3 and would not need extra supplements.

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      Susan2010 7 years ago

      Ii am 37 and Diabetic, so I am taking a lot of extra prenatal vitamins for my condition. Do you think extra Omega3 is still required other than what I get from my diet?

    • Dr. Poeta Diablo profile image

      Dr. Poeta Diablo 7 years ago from Washington

      Your welcome sarmack!

    • sarmack profile image

      Sarah 7 years ago from Washington

      Excellent advice for keeping our unborn safe and healthy. Thank you.