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Pregnancy Diet Tips

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During pregnancy, your appetite and eating habits may change. For example, you could lose your appetite during the first trimester yet feel constantly hungry during the last few months of pregnancy. You might also develop cravings for specific foods, or find that you snack more often instead of eating large meals. You can help even out appetite variations by following a wholesome diet that nourishes your baby, keeps your energy levels even and achieves a healthy amount of weight gain.

Relieve Morning Sickness

At the start of pregnancy, you might feel nauseous, and your stomach might turn at the sight or smell of foods you previously enjoyed. You can help relieve feelings of morning sickness by eating something that tastes bland, such as a dry cracker or a small portion of dry cereal, before you get out of bed. If nausea persists, it's helpful to eat small meals at regular intervals throughout the day to avoid feeling either too bloated or ravenously hungry. Avoid foods that are too greasy or spicy, as these often worsen nausea. Instead, something like a baked potato with a small portion of salad might help settle your stomach.

Balance Your Calories

An additional 300 calories each day during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy can help boost your energy levels and achieve a healthy amount of weight gain. It's helpful to monitor your portion sizes and avoid foods that are high in sugar and fat, such as candy and cookies, to prevent too many added pounds. Although fats are calorie dense, they remain an important part of your diet. Limit your intake of animal fats and fats from processed foods, and instead, choose fats from plant sources, such as nuts, fish, avocados and vegetable oils.

RELATED: Complete Healthy Diet Plan for Pregnancy

Consume Extra Iron

During pregnancy, your body needs about double its usual amount of iron, and a deficiency could leave you feeling tired and prone to infection. Rich sources of iron include lean red meat, poultry, fish and dried beans. You can help your body absorb iron by pairing an iron-rich food with a source of vitamin C. For example, eat a bowl of iron-fortified breakfast cereal along with a glass of fresh orange juice. It's not always possible to consume enough iron to cope with the body's demands during pregnancy, so you might require iron supplements.

Eat Dark, Leafy Greens

Toss spinach and watercress in your salad bowl to increase your intake of folic acid. Folic acid or folate, a B vitamin, helps prevent fetal neural tube defects, such as spina bifida. Vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus and green peas also provide useful amounts of folate. As with iron, it can prove challenging to ensure sufficient intake of folate during pregnancy without the use of supplements.

Avoid Potential Toxins

Certain foods and drinks, such as alcoholic beverages, could prove harmful to your unborn baby and are best avoided during pregnancy. Some types of fish in particular, such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tuna and tilefish, might contain high levels of mercury, and you should avoid raw seafood and raw shellfish, which could harbor harmful bacteria. Look for pasteurized dairy products, and wash fruits and vegetables in cold, running water to help you avoid illness from bacteria including listeria and salmonella.

RELATED: Diet for Older Women Prior to Pregnancy

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