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Pregnancy Food Guide



Being pregnant has it’s own set of emotions and thoughts so don’t let your diet be one of them! Against popular belief, you don’t have to eat too much more food while pregnant. In your first trimester, the average extra calorie intake is a mere 300 calories. That’s not much! A bowl of greek yogurt, sprinkled with peanuts, honey, and cinnamon is already an extra 395 calories! To help you keep track of it all, we’ve gathered a list of guidelines for what to eat while you are pregnant.

First and foremost, don’t feel that you need to change your entire way of eating. If you are a heavy meat eater or a vegan, feel free to keep up with that lifestyle; just talk to your health care professional to make sure you are getting the right nutrition for you and your baby.

Photo by Trang Doan

Things you can still enjoy:

  • Fish and shellfish with low mercury levels (see more specific guidelines below)
  • Coffee/caffeine – up to 2 cups of coffee a day (8oz servings)
  • Dairy – if your system gets upset, consider cutting back and/or taking in smaller meals.
  • Lemon Balm, Chamomile, Peppermint, and/or Ginger* Teas
    • *ginger herb should be avoided however; speak to a health care professional for any concerns and/or questions

Things to avoid:

  • Raw or undercooked foods (especially eggs, sushi and other fish)
  • Unpasteurized drinks and foods (like raw milk, some soft cheeses like feta, brie) – check the label because some soft cheese has been made with pasteurized milk
  • Fish and shellfish with high mercury levels (see more specific guidelines below)
  • Safety measures to consider:
  • Rinse/wash all fruit and produce even if it says it is already washed.
  • Reheat meats like hot dogs, lunch meats, or other meats from the deli

Talk with a health care professional before taking any vitamins or supplements (including herbs, see more specific information below)

Fish guidelines:

Fish are a great source of protein as well as vitamins and minerals. In general, eating small, younger fish is safer. If seafood is a big part of your diet, make sure you are varying the type you eat.

Seafood low in mercury (among others): eat no more than 12oz per week

  • shrimp
  • clams
  • oysters
  • salmon and steelhead
  • sole
  • flounder
  • cod

Seafood with moderate levels of mercury: eat no more than 6oz per week

  • light canned tuna
  • Mahi Mahi
  • halibut
  • sturgeon
  • catfish
  • carp

Seafood high in mercury: eat no more than 60z per month

  • bass
  • brown trout
  • white (albacore) canned tuna

Again, do not eat shark or swordfish! They are very high in mercury and the build up in your system could be harmful to you and/or your baby.

Many herbs and alternative treatment options can cause high blood pressure, abnormal fetal growth, extreme nausea and/or diarrhea, among other risks. The follow list of herbs are recommended to be avoided during pregnancy. Speak to your health care professional for any questions or concerns.

  • Arnica
  • Ginger (in higher doses)
  • Juniper
  • Gingko (in higher doses)
  • Ephedra/Ma-Huang
  • Comfrey Root
  • Goldenseal
  • Licorice
  • Senna and Buckhorn
  • Evening Primrose Oil (internal use)
  • Magnesium Supplement (in higher doses)
  • Iron Supplement
  • Cascara
  • Melatonin
  • Vitamin A
  • Nzu (also known as Calabash Clay, Calabar Stone, Mabele, Argile, LaCraie)
  • Autumn Crocus
  • Male Fern
  • Rue
  • Thuja
  • Barberry
  • Mandrake
  • Sagi
  • Wormwood
  • Black/Blue cohosh
  • Pennyroyal
  • Southernwood
  • Mugwort
  • Poke Root
  • Tansy

Sources: Bend OB/GYN, East Cascades Women’s Group, Oregon Department of Human Services, Dairy Council of California

Disclaimer: Content on this site is for reference purposes only. The Baby Brief does not represent or warrant that the nutrition, ingredient, allergen and other product information on our Web or Mobile sites are accurate or complete. On occasion, manufacturers may improve or change their product formulas and update their labels. We recommend that you do not rely solely on the information presented on our Web or Mobile sites and that you review the products’ labels or contact the manufacturer directly if you have specific product concerns or questions. If you have specific healthcare concerns or questions about the products displayed, please contact your licensed healthcare professional for advice or answers.


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