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How to eat during pregnancy and breastfeeding - Food Pyramid
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How to eat during pregnancy and breastfeeding

By Senior Editor
Food Pyramid -

If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, you should try and eat a more varied diet in order to get all the nutrients you need. Eat properly since food provides the energy which you and your growing baby need. This doesn’t mean that you should start eating for two. Just how much energy you need depends on your body size and how active you are.

Eat your breakfast, lunch and dinner. Add this with two snacks of fruits and vegetables every day. In the later stages of pregnancy and when you’re breast-feeding you need more energy. Eat an extra snack between meals, such as a piece of fruit and a sandwich, some yoghurt or a glass of milk.

If you think that you are gaining too much weight, try to cut down on the fat and sugar. Eat healthier food, but don’t start on a strict diet since it can be harmful to you and your child.

Every day, you should try to eat:

  • Potatoes, rice, pasta, couscous or something similar
  • High-fiber bread with every meal
  • Vegetables, root vegetables and fruit at every mealtime
  • Milk, yoghurt and other diary products or cheese
  • Meat, poultry, eggs, fish or pulses (i.e. peas, beans, lentils)

Iron and folic (B-vitamin) supplements

About 1/3 of the iron goes to your baby. This is why it’s so important to add more of the iron in your diet. Eat more liver, meat, peas, lentils and wholemeal bread, since they are all rich in iron. If you eat more fruits and vegetables with your meals, you will help your body to absorb iron better. Avoid having tea or coffee directly after your meals, since they reduce absorption of iron. Even if you eat a varied diet you might still need iron and folic acid (one of the B-vitamins) supplement during pregnancy. Ask your doctor for advice.

More calcium to your diet

Calcium is vital for building up your baby’s bones and teeth. Milk, yogurt and cheese are rich in calcium, but if you are allergic or don’t like dairy products, you can drink certain sesame or soya drinks instead. Broccoli, cabbage, green beans, sardines, prawns and eggs also contain calcium, but not as much as dairy products.

Fish & Shellfish

In general, fish is good for you. But some fish can contain harmful pollutants or bacteria and should be avoided. The following guide tells you how often you can eat different types of fish.

Eat as often you like: Haddock, hake, mackerel, coalfish, cod and whiting are examples of fish from the open sea that is ok to eat as often as you like. You can also eat fish-balls, fish-fingers, pickled herring, caviar, whitefish (roe, pre-packed), farmed fish (rainbow trout), shellfish (boiled, e.g. crab, crayfish, lobster, prawns), and plaice as often as you like.

Please note that you can eat Salmon, Herring, Trout and Char as often as you like, as long as they don’t come from the following waters: the Baltic Sea, the Gulf of Bothnia, the Lake Vanern (Sweden) and the lake Vattern (Sweden).

Not more than once a month: Wild salmon from the Baltic Sea, the Gulf of Bothnia and Lake Vanern (Sweden), Wild char fish from Lake Vattern (Sweden), Herring/Baltic herring/ fermented Baltic herring from the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Bothnia, Wild brown trout from the Baltic Sea, the Gulf of Bothnia and Lake Va nern (Sweden)

You should not eat: (Also applies for women who are thinking of having a baby)
Perch, Cured fish, e.g. gravlax (unless freshly-cured), Pike, Zander, Burbot, Burbot liver, Shellfish (raw e.g. oysters), Large halibut, Cod liver, Eel, Shark, Swordfish, Tuna (fresh/frozen).


If you are pregnant you should never eat cured meats, cured poultry, liver, raw minced or cold-smoked lamb or pork. Delicatessen items such as ham, sausage, smoked or dried meats, etc., should be purchased freshly-packaged or in pieces. You can eat ordinary liver  as usual.


Eat as often as you like: Cream cheese, such as Cantadou, Philadelphia, Hard cheese, Processed cheese, Cooked cheese, e.g. au gratin

Never when you are pregnant: Unpasteurized milk, Unpasteurized cheese (unless thoroughly cooked), Soft and semi-soft blue and matured cheeses such as Brie, Camembert, Gorgonzola, Vacherol, Reblochon

Other Things to Consider

How to avoid morning sickness: Eat something before you get out of bed. Eat little and often.

How to avoid constipation: Eat fiber rich food (wholemeal, fruits, vegetables) and drink a lot of water. Exercise and go for a walk every day.

How to avoid heartbur: Avoid large meals late at night. Don’t drink more than 3 cups of coffee per day. Don’t eat spicy, fatty or smoked foods.

Have following things in mind:

  • Always cook food thoroughly so that it’s cooked right through.
  • If you use microwave for warming up cooked food, make sure that it’s heated thoroughly.
  • Always choose fresh or newly-packed food.
  • Always wash fruit and vegetables.
  • Always wash your hands after touching raw meat, sand, soil and cats.
  • Make sure your kitchen has a good standard of hygiene
  • Take extra care when you’re abroad.
  • Harmful bacteria and parasites can cause infections which might harm your baby.


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