It’s well known that a mother’s diet during pregnancy is very important to the health of her baby. Expecting mothers need to consume more vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that are helpful for a fetus’ growth and development. However, there are also some foods pregnant women should avoid.

UC Davis Health registered dietitian Katherine Stone shares foods to eat and avoid during pregnancy:

5 foods to eat during pregnancy

  1. Produce containing Vitamin C, like oranges, strawberries, bell peppers, and broccoli, support the baby’s growth and improves iron absorption.
  2. Foods that have iron, such as beans, lentils, green leafy vegetables, meat, and spinach all support the mother’s body in making more blood for both mom and baby.
  3. Foods rich in calcium, including pasteurized dairy products (yogurt, cow’s milk and hard cheeses) as well as almonds, broccoli, and garbanzo beans will help support development of bones and teeth.
  4. Foods containing Omega-3 fatty acids (EHA and DHA) such as sardines, salmon, trout and canned light tuna. Or choose a prenatal supplement with Omega-3s if you don’t like fish.
  5. Drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated supports the proper delivery of nutrients through the blood to the baby and may help prevent constipation, hemorrhoids and urinary tract infections for the mother.

5 foods to avoid during pregnancy

  1. Stay away from unpasteurized dairy products (soft cheeses and milk) and refrigerated ready-to-eat meats like deli meat. These foods may have bacteria that cause the foodborne illness listeriosis, which may cause flu-like symptoms, nausea, diarrhea, and miscarriage, as well as still birth and preterm labor.
  2. Any food in a dented can increases risk for botulism, a foodborne illness that can cause neuromuscular deficits for expecting mothers.
  3. Consuming raw seafood, like sushi or raw oysters, increases risk of salmonella, a foodborne illness that can cause fever and nausea, vomiting, stomach cramping and diarrhea for pregnant women, as well as intrauterine sepsis that can affect babies.
  4. Fish with a high mercury content, such as swordfish, shark, orange roughy, marlin and king mackerel can cause damage to the nervous system of the mother and brain damage or hearing and vision problems for the baby.
  5. Alcohol should be avoided during pregnancy. Alcohol has been shown to negatively affect a baby’s growth and development.

Additional resources: