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Diet During Pregnancy
Eating Well for You and Your Baby
- Alcohol—There is no established safe level of alcohol during pregnancy. Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages while you are pregnant.
- Fish that may have high levels of methylmercury—Avoid eating shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish while pregnant. These fish have high levels of methylmercury, which could harm your baby. You can safely consume up to 12 ounces of fish that is lower in methylmercury (such as shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, or catfish). Eat no more than six ounces of canned albacore (white) tuna or tuna steaks per week. Farm-raised fish may contain elevated levels of dioxin.
- Soft cheeses and cold lunchmeats, hot dogs, and deli meats—Soft cheeses (such as Brie, feta, Camembert, Roquefort, Mexican-style soft cheese), cold lunch meats, hot dogs, and deli meats can contain bacteria that can harm your unborn baby.
- Raw fish, meat, or poultry—These foods can result in food poisoning that may cause harm to your baby.
- Nonfood items—Some pregnant women crave nonfood products, such as clay. This condition is called pica. You should avoid consuming these things and tell your doctor if you are having cravings for nonfood items.
American Pregnancy Association http://www.americanpregnancy.org
Choose MyPlate.gov http://www.choosemyplate.gov
Dietitians of Canada http://www.dietitians.ca
Women's Health Matters http://www.womenshealthmatters.ca
Eating during pregnancy. Nemours Foundation website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/parent/nutrition%5Fcenter/dietary%5Fneeds/eating%5Fpregnancy.html. Updated November 2009. Accessed December 26, 2012.
Fit for two: tips for pregnancy. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Weight–Control Information Network website. Available at: http://win.niddk.nih.gov/publications/two.htm. Updated November 2009. Accessed December 26, 2012.
Health & nutrition information for pregnant and breastfeeding women. ChooseMyPlate.gov website. Available at: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/pregnancy-breastfeeding.html. Accessed December 26, 2012.
2/15/2007 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Bech BH, Obel C, Henriksen TB, Olsen J. Effect of reducing caffeine intake on birth weight and length of gestation: randomised controlled trial. BMJ. 2007 Jan 26;[Epub ahead of print].
11/6/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Christian P, Stewart CP, LeClerq SC, et al. Antenatal and postnatal iron supplementation and childhood mortality in rural Nepal: a prospective follow-up in a randomized, controlled community trial. Am J Epidemiol. 2009;170:1127-1136. Christian P, Khatry SK, et al. Effects of alternative maternal micronutrient supplements on low birth weight in rural Nepal: double blind randomised community trial. BMJ. 2003;326(7389):571.
- Reviewer: Andrea Chisholm, MD
- Review Date: 03/2014
- Update Date: 04/29/2014