Pregnancy Diet: Eating for Two

Pregnancy Diet: Eating for Two

Now you’re pregnant, eating for two doesn’t actually mean doubling your food intake.  In fact, most pregnant women only need about 300 additional calories per day in their diet, the equivalent of:

  • 480 ml of low-fat milk
  • 250 g of ice cream
  • 1 bagel with cream cheese
  • 1 tuna sandwich

With this in mind, maintain a balanced diet for a healthy pregnancy across the 5 main food groups:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Grains
  • protein foods
  • dairy

Additional Diet and Nutrition Considerations:


Pregnant women require about 70 grams of protein per day. 240 ml of milk or 30 g (an ounce) of red meat contains about 10 grams of protein.

Good sources of protein include:

  • lean meats
  • poultry
  • fish
  • dried beans
  • lentils
  • nuts
  • eggs
  • cheese.

During pregnancy you should avoid:

  • unpasteurised, soft cheeses such as Brie and Stilton
  • raw or rare meats, as they might contain bacteria that could harm your infant
  • fish that are high in mercury, such as shark, swordfish or king mackerel


Calcium is needed during pregnancy for the formation of the baby's bones and teeth. The recommended daily allowance for calcium during pregnancy is 1,000 mg per day (1,300 mg a day if you are younger than 19).

You can get your calcium from:

  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Orange juice
  • Milk
  • Yoghurt
  • Cheese


You need 27 mg a day when you're pregnant. Good sources of iron are:

  • Fish
  • Poultry
  • Wholegrain breads and cereals
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Legumes
  • Dried fruits
  • Eggs
  • Red meat

Many women take iron supplements during their second and third trimesters; discuss this with your health provider.  If you eat a diet rich in iron this may not be necessary.


Moderate consumption of caffeine is best. Don't drink more than one to two caffeine-laden drinks, such as coffee and tea per day.

Food Cravings

No one really knows why some women crave certain foods during pregnancy, but cravings are not thought to be the result of food deficiencies. There is no reason to avoid foods that you crave as long as you eat in moderation to avoid a large weight gain.

Unfortunately, some pregnant women crave non-food items such as laundry starch or clay and want to eat them. This is a condition called pica. If you crave non-food items, be sure to tell your healthcare provider who can offer advice and help if needed.

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