What to Eat—and Not Eat—When You’re Expecting Post Header Image

What to Eat—and Not Eat—When You’re Expecting

Are you expecting a baby? Congratulations!

Every day, you should try to get the nutrients your body needs so you can be as healthy as possible during your pregnancy.

Keep reading for tips on which food and supplements provide these important vitamins and minerals.

Also, be sure to review the foods you should avoid during your pregnancy. These items could make you or your baby sick.

Last but not least, ask your doctor if you should eat more, or less, of any of the items on this list.

Prenatal vitamin

  • Start with a daily prenatal vitamin. Ask your doctor which one is best for you. It is especially important that you take a prenatal vitamin with 400 micrograms of folic acid.

Folic acid

  • Fortified cereal, enriched bread and pasta, peanuts, dark green leafy vegetables, orange juice, and beans.


  • Milk, cheese, yogurt, sardines, and dark green leafy vegetables.


  • Lean red meat, poultry, fish, dried beans and peas, iron-fortified cereals, and prune juice.


  • Iodized table salt, dairy products, seafood, meat, some breads, and eggs.


  • Milk, beef liver, eggs, peanuts, and soy products.

Vitamin A

  • Carrots, green leafy vegetables, and sweet potatoes.

Vitamin C

  • Citrus fruit, broccoli, tomatoes, and strawberries.

Vitamin D

  • Sunlight, fortified milk, and fatty fish such as salmon and sardines.

Vitamin B6

  • Beef, liver, pork, ham, whole-grain cereals, and bananas.

Vitamin B12

  • Meat, fish, poultry, and milk. If you are a vegetarian, take a B12 supplement. 

Some types of fish have a metal called mercury in them. If you eat too much of these fish, the mercury you consume could cause birth defects.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, you should not eat:

  • bigeye tuna
  • king mackerel
  • marlin
  • orange roughy
  • shark
  • swordfish
  • tilefish

If you choose to eat white albacore tuna, eat only a small amount (6 ounces) per week. Ask about possible pollution before you eat fish caught in local waters.

Other foods you should not eat include:

  • raw or undercooked meat, fish, and eggs
  • homemade mayonnaise
  • dressings that use raw eggs
  • raw sprouts, including bean and alfalfa
  • unpasteurized (raw) milk
  • some feta, queso fresco, and blue cheeses
  • uncooked or undercooked deli meats and hot dogs
  • your body to digest food
  • create amniotic fluid
  • nutrients to circulate in your body
  • waste to leave your body

Parkland Community Health Plan members: Want a little boost? Try a friendly chat with Pyx!

Pyx is a mobile app designed for pregnant women age 18 and older.

You can use Pyx to:

  • find a ride to the doctor
  • find out where to get healthy food at no or low cost
  • learn about fun activities to help you relax
  • read jokes to make you smile
  • connect with the 24-Hour Nurse Line
  • get in touch with Member Services

To sign up for Pyx and download the app, click here.


Parkland Community Health Plan