Eating Well When You're Pregnant

When you're pregnant, what you eat and drink is the main source of nourishment for your baby. In fact, the link between what you consume and the health of your baby is much stronger than once thought. That's why doctors now say, for example, that no amount of alcohol consumption should be considered safe during pregnancy.

The extra food you eat shouldn't just be empty calories — it should provide the nutrients your growing baby needs. For example, calcium helps make and keep bones and teeth strong. While you're pregnant, you still need calcium for your body, plus extra calcium for your developing baby. Similarly, you require more of all the essential nutrients than you did before you became pregnant.

Try to eat healthily whenever you can, even though morning sickness may sometimes make it a struggle. This will help you and your baby to get the nutrients you need.

Eat nutritious, well-balanced meals if your stomach feels settled enough. If you can’t manage large meals, try eating several small snacks instead. See our tasty, healthy snack ideas.

Try to have a variety of these foods each day:

  • Fruit and vegetables, whether fresh, dried, tinned or juiced. Aim for at least five portions a day.
  • Healthy carbohydrate foods such as potatoes, and wholegrain varieties of rice, bread and pasta.
  • Foods rich in protein, such as lean meat and poultry, fish, eggs and pulses (such as beans and lentils).
  • Dairy foods, such as milk, cheese and yoghurt. Opt for low-fat varieties, if you can.

Eating nutritious foods is important during pregnancy. But some foods can carry harmful bacteria and parasites that can make you sick, or contain chemicals that are best avoided. It is easy to take steps to protect yourself from food poisoning while taking care of yourself and your pregnancy.

Getting the right nutrition while you're expecting is one of the best ways to ensure you'll have a healthy pregnancy and baby.