What to eat during pregnancy
Eating the right foods when you are pregnant will help you and your baby get the extra nutrients you both need.
Why nutrition matters in pregnancy
What you eat during pregnancy can play a big role in the health of both you and your growing baby. By eating the right foods, you are more likely to get the extra nutrients you both need.
During pregnancy, your diet is all about quality rather than quantity. You don’t need to ‘eat for two’. Generally, you should aim to have three regular meals per day, plus two to three light snacks to keep you going.
For more advice on what to eat, talk to a dietitian or your GP.
Foods to eat during pregnancy
The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend that you aim to eat the following each day during pregnancy:
- 5 serves of vegetables, including legumes and beans (1 serve = ½ cup cooked veg or 1 cup fresh salad)
- 2 serves of fruit (1 serve is a medium piece of fruit or 2 small pieces of stone fruit)
- 8 ½ serves of grains, mostly wholegrain and/or high fibre cereals (1 serve is a slice of bread, ½ medium roll, ½ cup of rice or 2/3 cup cereal)
- 3 ½ serves lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds ((1 serve is 65g cooked lean meat, or 80g cooked poultry, 2 large eggs or 30g nuts/seeds/peanut butter)
- 2 ½ serves of milk, yoghurt and cheese (1 serve is 250ml milk or calcium-enriched soy or rice milk, 2 slices of cheese or ¾ cup yoghurt)
- 2.25 litres of water
As well as eating a healthy, balanced diet, it is also recommended that you take two supplements during pregnancy – folic acid (400ug/day) and iodine (150ug/day). Ask your GP about pregnancy supplements to make sure you and your baby are getting the nutrients you need.
Foods to avoid when pregnant
Some foods contain harmful bacteria such as listeria or salmonella, which can be dangerous for you and your baby. You should avoid eating:
- Processed meats
- Raw meat and paté
- Raw seafood
- Soft and semi-soft cheeses
- Soft serve or fried ice-cream
- Unpasteurised dairy products
- Raw eggs
- Pre-packaged salads
It’s also recommended that you reduce your caffeine intake and avoid alcohol altogether.