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Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy—and What to Eat Instead

By Beth W. Orenstein
Reviewed by Alyssa Quimby, M.D.
November 04, 2022

When you’re expecting, it’s important to make smart choices about your diet, including knowing what foods to avoid during pregnancy and which alternatives are safe and healthy. “Eating a healthy, balanced diet when you’re pregnant helps assure that you and your baby get the nutrients you need,” says Libby Mills, R.D.N., a registered and licensed dietitian-nutritionist in Philadelphia, culinary nutritionist at Villanova University, and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

A healthy, balanced diet means a variety of nutrient-rich whole foods, including lean meats and/or other proteins, fish and seafood, legumes, low-fat dairy products, fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads and cereals, nuts, seeds, and healthy oils. “These foods support the growth and development needs of [both you and your baby,]” Mills says.

In a review of studies published in 2021 in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, researchers wrote that women who report “health-conscious” eating patterns before and during pregnancy may have fewer complications, and their babies may experience fewer health problems.