pregnant woman sitting on the couch while eating breakfast

5 Signs You Are Eating Healthy Foods for You and Your Baby

By Erica Patino
Reviewed by Alyssa Quimby, M.D.
February 03, 2023

Eating healthy foods is good for you and your baby.

“Good nutrition increases the chances that your baby will be healthy after birth and over their lifetime,” says Megan Porter, R.D. Porter is a dietitian at Randall Children's Hospital, in Portland, Oregon. A dietitian helps people make good food choices.

Eating well can also help you feel better. “A healthy diet can help reduce pregnancy symptoms,” says Vandana Sheth, R.D., in Los Angeles. This includes morning sickness and feeling tired.

Here are some ways to know you are getting healthy things to eat when pregnant:

1. The Food on Your Plate Looks Like a Rainbow

Eating fruits and vegetables is good for you and your baby. Colorful foods offer different vitamins and nutrients. These are things that fuel your body.

Your meal could have blue blueberries, green spinach, and yellow peppers. Add orange slices and red tomatoes.

2. You Read Food Labels

Find out whether a food contains good things by reading the label.

  • Vitamin D is good for the baby’s heart, kidneys, and bones. Canned tuna has vitamin D, but limit it to two to three servings a week. Some orange juice and milk have added vitamin D, too.
  • Iron helps you pump blood to your baby. Spinach, beans, quinoa, and beef have iron.
  • Calcium helps your baby build strong bones and teeth. Find it in milk, yogurt, cheese, broccoli, beans, and lentils. Some orange juice has calcium added, too.
  • Protein helps your baby’s brain grow and gives you energy. Fish, chicken, pork, and beef have protein. Frozen meats can be a less expensive option, Porter says. Protein is also in eggs, nuts, cottage cheese, and tofu, says Sheth.
  • Folate helps your baby’s spine. Green leafy vegetables, like spinach, cabbage, lettuce, and collard greens, have folate. Fresh veggies are best. But frozen can last longer and are better than canned.

Try not to eat many unhealthy foods, like ice cream and hot dogs. Those have a lot of calories and few nutrients. “I advise pregnant people to stay away from fast food, fried foods, and fatty foods,” says Teresa Hoffman, M.D. Hoffman is an ob-gyn at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore.

3. You Take a Daily Vitamin

A vitamin made for pregnancy is called a prenatal vitamin. You may find options at a store. Or your doctor may give you one. It does not matter which one you take, but it should have folic acid in it, Hoffman says.

4. You Avoid Foods That Are Not Safe

There are some foods you should avoid. They include unpasteurized milk and cheese, deli meats, sushi, and raw or uncooked eggs and meat. These foods could make you or your baby sick.

5. You Do Not Drink Alcohol

Alcohol can harm your growing baby. It can lead to health problems at birth, Porter says. Do not drink alcohol while you are pregnant. This includes wine, beer, liquor, and cocktails.

Eat healthy to feel better and to help your baby grow strong. For more, talk to your doctor. You can also call your local health office at 800-311-BABY (1-800-311-2229). Or visit the website of the Office on Women’s Health.

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