What to eat during pregnancy: the foods allowed and those to avoid

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What to eat when pregnant

A healthy diet during pregnancy is important for both mother and baby, as we know that the foods eaten during the nine months are also the main source of nourishment for the baby in the belly. Experts recommend that the mother-to-be's diet includes a variety of healthy foods and drinks to ensure both maternal and fetal organisms have all the necessary nutrients. So here it is what to eat when pregnant, which foods to prefer and which to avoid.

In this article

  • What to eat during pregnancy: the diet
  • What to eat during pregnancy in the first months
  • What to eat during pregnancy so as not to gain weight
  • What to eat during pregnancy: toxoplasmosis
  • Diagram of nutrition in pregnancy
  • What not to eat when pregnant
  • What to eat in the first trimester of pregnancy?
  • Fruit to avoid in pregnancy

What to eat during pregnancy: the diet

Follow one healthy eating scheme it is certainly the best way to set the pregnancy diet: healthy eating means following a dietary pattern that includes a variety of nutritious foods and drinks. In general, therefore:

  • eat a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, non-fat or low-fat dairy and protein foods;
  • choose foods and drinks with less added sugar, saturated fat and sodium (salt);
  • limit refined grains and starches, which are found in foods such as cookies, white bread, and some snacks;
  • favor noble proteins, such as those of blue fish, legumes or white meat;
  • also pay attention to the quality of fats: not all are to be avoided, but the good ones, such as Omega 3, contained in fish or dried fruit, are to be preferred.

It is also important to choose healthy snacks and snacks to satisfy sudden cravings, typical of pregnancy, or a difficult to manage peckish. Perfect:

  • Low-fat or fat-free yogurt with fruit
  • Wholemeal crackers with low-fat cheese
  • carrots
Read also: Pregnancy, how much weight can you gain in 9 months?

How much to drink in pregnancy?

Particular importance must be given to hydration and therefore towater which is essential for the vascularization of the placenta, but also to support the increase in blood volume and to build a reserve that will be useful in the immediate postpartum, considering that a lot of fluids are lost during birth. Experts recommend drinking approx two and a half liters of water a day.

What to eat during pregnancy in the first months

In the first few months, the diet shouldn't be very different from the usual one, as long as it is healthy and balanced. You don't have to increase your calorie intake, but you must pay particular attention to getting all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients we need.

Particular attention to all those foods that contain folic acid, a fundamental substance to prevent neural tube malformations, such as spina bifida, but also to foods that contain:

  • iron;
  • Omega-3 fatty acids;
  • football;
  • potassium;
  • proteins.

The list of foods to be consumed especially in the first trimester, but in general throughout pregnancy, includes:

  • Oranges,
  • banana,
  • apricots,
  • strawberries,
  • green leafy vegetables,
  • beans,
  • nuts,
  • cauliflower,
  • beets,
  • eggs,
  • greek yogurt,
  • well cooked white meat,
  • milk and derivatives,
  • blue fish.

What to eat during pregnancy so as not to gain weight

Dr. has prepared a PDF of the diet in pregnancy that you can download and print: the quantities have not been indicated in the menu, because they depend a lot on the physical conformation of the woman. All meals must begin with a small piece of raw fruit or vegetables to activate the immune system.

  • Download the PDF of the diet in pregnancy

What to eat during pregnancy: toxoplasmosis

Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by a microorganism called Toxoplasma gondii. It does not manifest itself with particular symptoms and therefore we could have had it without even noticing it. But if this infection is normally harmless, in pregnancy is a lot dangerous and should be avoided. This is why a blood test is regularly followed to analyze the presence of the Toxoplasma. The only way to prevent toxoplasmosis is to avoid the intake of certain foods that can be the vehicle of the microorganism:

  • unwashed fruits and vegetables;
  • raw meat;
  • cold cuts and raw meat.

It is also a good rule to use gloves when gardening and to wash your hands thoroughly after touching soil or after washing fruit and vegetables.

Diagram of nutrition in pregnancy

In addition to following a healthy diet, it is also important to take into account the calories consumed in order not to gain too much weight. Being pregnant doesn't mean you have to eat for two, as was once believed. Let's see one calorie table recommended according to the gestation period:

  • First quarter: Most women don't need extra calories.
  • Second quarter: it is good to consume about 340 extra calories per day.
  • Third quarter: Generally, about 450 extra calories per day are recommended.

In any case, it is very important to ask your gynecologist what to eat and especially in what quantity: the evaluation also depends on the starting weight.

According to the recommendations of the American Institute of Medicine (now the Health and Medicine Division of the American Academies of Sciences, Technology and Medicine), the recommended overall weight gain is:

  • 11,6-16 kg for women starting pregnancy with a normal weight; 
  • 12,5-18 kg for women who start from an underweight condition;
  • 7-11,5 kg for overweight women (even less, i.e. 5-9 kg, in case of obesity).

What not to eat when pregnant

If we have seen which are the foods not to be missed, now we have to list the ones that are best avoided.

The goal is to avoid infections and food poisoning, such as toxoplasmosis.

What not to eat when pregnant, list

  • large fish, such as tuna or swordfish, because they may contain too high levels of mercury;
  • raw fish or shellfish such as sushi or raw oysters;
  • soft cheeses (such as feta, brie and goat cheese), unless they are pasteurized;
  • raw or rare meats, poultry or eggs;
  • unpasteurized juices or milk;
  • drinks with caffeine and added sugars.
  • alcoholic.

What to eat in the first trimester of pregnancy?

In the first weeks of pregnancy it is important to set up immediately proper nutrition, preferring the Mediterranean diet: carbohydrates, preferably whole, noble proteins of fish and white meat, dairy products, seasonal fruit and vegetables. Drinking at least two liters of water is also important for the formation of amniotic fluid and for increasing blood flow.

We must choose foods that are rich in vitamins, fibers and minerals, all essential nutrients for the female body and for the developing baby.

Fruit to avoid in pregnancy

Fruit, along with vegetables, is a very important pillar of daily nutrition during pregnancy. We should consume five servings of vegetables and fruit a day and we can take fruit both as a snack and as a meal. But are all fruits okay or are there some that should be avoided?

In principle we can consume:

  • apricots
  • peaches
  • apples
  • pears
  • bananas
  • citrus fruits.

While very sugary fruits should be limited, therefore rich in fructose, like figs or grapes.


  • Womens health.gov
  • Ministry of Health

  • diet
  • pregnancy feeding
  • what to eat when pregnant
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