What to Eat When Pregnant

What to Eat When Pregnant

Pregnancy does not mean EAT.IT.ALL.  You have 40ish weeks to grow the perfect baby, if anything, pregnancy should be a wakeup call and lifestyle change if you are consuming sub-par foods.  I know you won’t eat perfectly, duh, our society is full of Cold Stone Creameries on every other corner. But, there is a huge difference between enjoying a treat every now and then, and consuming processed, chemical-filled “foods.”  The sad thing is that our minds have been trained and warped to believe so much that is so wrong.  We think we are making good decisions, but in reality, we are being lied to and consuming (for lack of a better word) crap.   “Low Fat” “Low Sugar” all of these labels mean that chemicals have been added to the products.  What’s a pregnant mama to do?  Simple: EAT.REAL.FOODS.  Stay away from GMO’s and anything processed (boxed items), and buy local and organic whenever possible.


Wonderful Foods to Include During Pregnancy

(non-gmo, local and organic if possible)

  • Grass-Fed Beef
  • Free-Range Poultry
  • Free-Range Eggs
  • Wild-Caught, Sustainable Seafood
  • Grass-Fed Organ Meats
  • Green Leafy Vegetables
  • Green Vegetables
  • Orange/Yellow Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Coconut (and Coconut Oil)
  • High Quality Olive Oil
  • Nuts (Peanuts are NOT nuts)
  • Bone Broth
  • Fermented Vegetables (like sauerkraut)
  • Kefir
  • Pasture-Fed Butter
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Full-Fat, Grass-Fed Dairy: Whole Cow Milk, Yogurt, or Cheese
  • Chia Seeds: Full of protein, healthy fats, dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants

A good pregnancy diet helps you feel better, gain less weight, grow a healthy baby, and increases your chances at a natural birth. Pregnancy is not a time to lose weight or go on diets, but it is a time to really look at what foods you are consuming.  By removing processed foods full of sugars and focusing on increasing the intake of vegetables, healthy fats, and high-quality sources of protein, you will be benefiting your health and the health of your baby.

38570258 - bowl of healthy fresh fruit salad on wooden background. top view.

Think fresh, real foods that include these nutrients:

  • Calcium: Supports strong bones and helps prevent preeclampsia
    •  dairy, dark leafy greens, okra, and fish bones
  • Choline: Vital for brain development, cell membrane formation and protects against neural tube defects.
    • chicken eggs, fish eggs and non-GMO sunflower lecithin
  • DHA: Essential for baby’s brain formation as well as eye, skin and nervous system development
    • wild caught, oily fish
  • Folate: Essential for healthy babies and helps to prevent brain and spinal cord defects. (You want to be sure you get the right form if you have the MTHFR defect)
    • dark leafy greens, asparagus and broccoli
  • Iodine
    • sea vegetables, cod, shrimp and baked potato with skin
  • Iron: Builds the placenta and supports oxygenating blood for a growing baby
    • red meat, liver, and blackstrap molasses
  • Potassium: Helps keep Mom’s blood pressure in a healthy range.
    • coconut water, bananas, and avocados
  • Magnesium: Helps with mom’s sleep quality and wards off restless leg syndrome, body pain and muscle cramping
    • leafy greens, avocados, and brown rice
  • Vitamin A: Essential for baby’s brain formation as well as eye, skin and nervous system development
    • cod liver oil, liver, and orange vegetables in the form of beta carotene
  • Vitamin C: keeps the bag of waters strong
    • green peppers, kiwis, and tomatoes
  • High quality protein (75 grams or more a day)*
    • Local, unprocessed, organic, free-range, grass-fed meats
  • High quality fat
    • coconut oil, organic butter, and nuts & seeds
These nutrients are important for the development of baby and health of mom. *Protein:  The Brewer's pregnancy diet recommends 75-120g of protein a day.

A Simple Rule to Follow

34244125 - fruit and vegetable rainbow


Smaller portions more frequently

Eat smaller portions more frequently throughout the day.


nutrition and diet during pregnancy. Pregnant woman standing near refrigerator with fruits and vegetables


Foods to Avoid

  • Raw fish/shellfish
  • Alcohol
  • Lunchmeats
  • Raw or undercooked beef or poultry
  • Raw sprouts
  • Unpasteurized juices
  • Raw dairy
  • Soy*
  • Legumes*
Some of these foods can be contaminated with Listeria Monocytogenes, high mercury or lead levels, E. coli, pathogens, parasites, toxicity, and more.  So food warnings should be taken seriously. However, infection from foods is extremely rare, so using your personal judgement. If you decide to enjoy some sushi, oysters, or whatever else while pregnant, make sure you choose your foods from a reputable location.  I won’t lie, I eat sushi and steamed oysters regularly – as well as indulge in a glass of wine while pregnant.  I feel as though the rest of the world (that is actually healthier than us) may have things right.  But, that’s just my personal view.


Avoid Soy.

*Two separate studies -- one in animals and the other in humans -- that considered together suggest that a diet high in soybeans and other legumes during pregnancy and breastfeeding may have a subtle but long-term impact on the development of children. The study concluded that about 80 percent of the fetuses were exposed to estrogenic isoflavones at concentrations ranging from 20 to 180 times the levels of naturally occurring female sex hormones in the amniotic fluid of female fetuses. The amniotic fluid samples were taken during routine amniocentesis between 16 and 20 weeks of gestation -- after a baby’s organs have formed but during a critical stage of development. Studies Released in 2011

In addition, also released was a study that concluded Russian boys exposed to dioxins pre-puberty showed a delay in puberty and testicular maturation.

Pregnant woman with a donut on her belly.

Non-Foods to Avoid

  • Artificial sweeteners
  • MSG or chemical additives
  • Diet Sodas or foods
  • Vegetable Oils and trans fats
  • Any herbs, drugs, or medicines without approval from your midwife or doctor (or your own research)
  • BPA and plastic containers
  • Aluminum in antiperspirants
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Sugars or sweeteners
  • Artificial dyes or colors in food
  • Chemicals in laundry detergent, personal care products and household cleaners
Recommended reading:
  • The Brewer Pregnancy Hotline by Gail Sforza Krebs and Dr. Tom Brewer
  • Pregnancy, Children, and the Vegan Diet, by Michael Klaper, MD
  • Diet for a Small Planet, by Frances Moore Lappé
  • The Birth Book, by William Sears, MD, and Martha Sears, RN
  • The Pregnancy Book, by William Sears, MD, Martha Sears, RN, and Linda Holt, MD
References: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/11/02/top-pregnancy-foods.aspx http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/10/18/probiotics-may-reduce-risk-of-birth-defects.aspx http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/10/18/probiotics-may-reduce-risk-of-birth-defects.aspx http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/01/02/soy-and-children.aspx http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3231890/                  
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