Nutrition for pregnancy

If you plan on starting a family in the near future, it may be time to start considering making some changes to your nutrition, lifestyle and fitness regime. Remember, eating healthily and maintaining a good level of physical activity during pregnancy is important for you and your baby.


Which foods should you avoid?

When pregnant, there are certain foods that women should avoid (or eat with caution) in order to reduce the risk of food poisoning. These include:

  • blue-veined cheese
  • patè
  • prepared salads
  • ready meals
  • reheated food (unless piping hot)
  • raw meat/poultry/eggs
  • unpasteurised milk
  • goats milk
  • untreated water
  • alcohol
  • caffeine

Which nutrients are important?

Vitamin A

Important for: Baby’s lungs, maintenance of normal skin and vision.

Found in: Orange, yellow and green leafy veggies, apricots, eggs, and white fish.

Folic acid

Important for: All rapidly dividing cells.

Found in: Beans and lentils, asparagus, nuts, green leafy veggies, avocado, corn, coconut, mushrooms, figs, dates, blackberries, beef, eggs, and citrus.


Important for: Blood production (take with vitamin C foods to increase absorption).

Found in: Kelp, whole grains, sunflower seeds, nuts, dried fruit, leafy greens, meat, chicken, fish, eggs, beans and lentils, cheddar cheese, and strawberries.


Important for: Bones, teeth, muscles.

Found in: Dairy foods, green leafy veggies, whole grains, nuts, seeds, raisins, dates, sardines and mackerel with bones, artichoke, oranges, celery, carrot, quinoa, sweet potato, garlic, squash, onion, and lentils.


Important for: Cell, brain and sexual development.

Found in: Red meat, ginger, nuts, legumes, whole grains, oily fish, chicken, turnip, and potato.


Important for: Growth, nerve and muscle function.

Found in: Kelp, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, green veggies, dried apricots, prunes, dates, sweetcorn, avocado, cheese, beans, garlic, raisins, and banana.

Essential fatty acids

Important for: Brain and nerve development, cell health.

Found in: Oily fish – sardines, mackerel, tuna, herring, anchovies, salmon, and flax seeds.

What else should you consider?

  • Consider a good quality multi-vitamin and mineral supplement, additional vitamin D and Omega 3 supplement.
  • Ideally get fresh, deep cold water/Atlantic /wild oily fish to minimise toxic contamination. The larger the size of the fish species the more likely they are to carry toxins in their flesh so where possible opt for the smaller fish such as sardines, anchovies and mackerel. 
  • Eat organic food where possible.
  • Filter your water and keep well hydrated.

Pay special attention to hygiene

Wash your hands thoroughly when cooking, cook meat thoroughly but don’t burn (be careful with BBQ meat), and keep raw and cooked food preparation items separate. Wash all fruit and vegetables before eating. Wear gloves when gardening or changing cat litter trays.

Find more information about pregnancy nutrition or find a professional that can offer you one-to-one bespoke support

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Nutritionist Resource are reviewed by our editorial team.

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