During pregnancy, eating a healthy diet is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself and your baby. Healthy food provides your baby with the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients they need to grow. And it gives you the nutritional boost you need to sustain a healthy pregnancy and maintain your own good health.
At Westover Hills Women’s Health in San Antonio, Texas, our experienced obstetrical care providers — including our skilled doctors and certified nurse midwives — believe in the power of prenatal nutrition. We provide you with the information you need to make smart choices about what you eat while you’re pregnant.
Here, we highlight some of the best and worst foods to eat when you’re expecting. We also invite you to learn more about this topic by reading this pregnancy nutrition guide from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Foods to eat
A healthy pregnancy diet contains a wide range of nutritious whole, unprocessed foods. As you choose your daily meals, include:
- A rainbow of fruits and vegetables
- Lean protein from plant and animal sources, including meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs
- Low-fat dairy foods or dairy alternatives
- Nuts and seeds
- Beans, peas, and lentils
- Whole-grain foods
- Healthy fats
Foods to avoid
Certain types of foods may contain pathogens, contaminants, or other substances that are harmful to you or your baby.
For example, some foods are contaminated with listeria, a dangerous bacteria found in water and soil and in the bodies of some animals. Listeria that can cause severe food poisoning, and outbreaks have been linked to raw or unpasteurized dairy products, meats, fruits, and vegetables.
Here are some of the foods you should avoid while you’re pregnant. For a full list of foods to avoid or limit during pregnancy, read this guide from the March of Dimes. And check in with your provider if you have questions.
No amount of alcohol has been proven to be safe during pregnancy.
Pasteurization is a process that kills bacteria and other germs in various types of food. Avoid unpasteurized milk, cheese, and fruit juices. Keep in mind that many soft cheeses, such as brie, are not routinely pasteurized.
Seafood with mercury
Certain types of seafood — such as swordfish, tuna, shark, king mackerel, and tilefish — are likely to contain the heavy metal mercury, which can harm your baby’s brain and nervous system. Some locally caught fish may also contain mercury.
To learn more about which seafood to stay away from, consult this guidance from the US Food and Drug Administration.
Raw meat, seafood, poultry, and eggs
Cooking kills harmful microorganisms that can make you sick and harm your baby. Avoid all uncooked or undercooked animal foods, including sushi. Also avoid or heat up lunch meats and hot dogs before eating.
Unwashed raw fruits and vegetables
To make sure these nutritional powerhouses are not contaminated with harmful pathogens, wash them thoroughly before eating. And avoid all raw sprouts, which cannot be cleaned adequately.
Helping you have a healthy pregnancy
From what you eat to how you deliver your baby, our pregnancy care providers can help you have the healthiest possible pregnancy. To schedule a visit at one of our two San Antonio, Texas, offices, call us today or use our online tool to book an appointment.