Aspirin in pregnancy
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Aileen Keigher
Community Midwife Team Leader Whittington Hospital, London
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Miss Claire Mellon - 10 weeks

What should I eat when I am pregnant?

It's good to know how much you should eat when you're pregnant and what type of foods to eat. It's also helpful to understand whether myths such "eating for two" are based on science or hearsay.
In Short
A healthy balanced diet during your pregnancy is really important for the growth and development of your baby.

That said you are not eating for two.

Until the third trimester, eat your usual diet.

In the last trimester, you can add an additional 200 calories a day - the equivalent of two pieces of fruit.

Healthy eating during your pregnancy

It’s really important to have a healthy and balanced diet during pregnancy. Many women feel they need to eat for two during their pregnancy however this is not the case. In fact, you need to have the same amount of calories as you would normally eat all the way through your pregnancy, until the third trimester, and then only 200 extra calories a day, which is equivalent to about 2 pieces of fruit.

Fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are incredibly important during pregnancy and you should aim for a wide variety of fruits and vegetables as they’ll have all the vitamins and minerals that your baby needs to grow. Just ensure all fruit and vegetables are washed thoroughly.


When it comes to carbohydrates, things like rice, pasta or bread, you should try to have a small amount with every meal and in most instances, try to have a wholemeal variety as these will help with constipation which many women suffer during pregnancy.


Protein, such as meat, fish, eggs (Lion stamped if eaten raw or partially cooked – if not Lion stamped, they must be cooked thoroughly – click here for more detail), nuts, and pulses, should be had twice a day and you should try to aim for lean varieties when possible.


When it comes to dairy, such as milk, cheese or yoghurt, you should aim for 4 servings a day. This is really important because dairy contains the calcium that your baby needs to develop their bones. If your baby does not get that calcium, it will actually take it from Mum’s bones in order to develop baby’s.


When it comes to foods and drinks high in fats and sugars, they should be minimised, since they contain lots of calories which can contribute to weight gain. However, they do not contain very many nutrients, and therefore, will not help with your growing baby.


Good fats are a really important part of the pregnancy diet because they can contribute to brain and eye development in the foetus. In particular, omega 3 is incredibly important and found in things like oily fish, and nuts and seeds such as walnuts and flaxseed oil. If you don’t feel like you’re getting enough omega 3 in your diet, you can take a supplement, however, choose a supplement that doesn’t have the word liver in it, such as cod liver oil as this can contain unhealthy levels of vitamin A.

Version updated May 18th, 2018

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This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Essential Parent has used all reasonable care in compiling the information from leading experts and institutions but makes no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details click here.