Tips for a healthy diet during pregnancy

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Diet in pregnancy

Eating healthy during pregnancy means ensuring important nutrients for the baby, essential for its proper development, and good health for the mother, who faces major changes in the body and the fear of putting on too many pounds.

In this article

  • Feeding in pregnancy
  • What to eat
  • What not to eat
  • Weekly diet in pregnancy
  • How not to gain weight in pregnancy
  • Diet for gestational diabetes
  • Diet for the first trimester of pregnancy
  • Diet for the second trimester
  • Diet in pregnancy for the third trimester

Feeding in pregnancy

For a peaceful pregnancy and optimal growth of the child, mother's health is essential, starting with maintaining an ideal body weight. Those who are already starting from a condition of overweight or obesity will have to be very careful not to gain additional kg, it will only be the child who has to grow, in the same way the new mothers in perfect normal weight, must not let themselves go thinking they are "safe".

Proper diet and nutrition during pregnancy it is not used to lose weight (which is not recommended), but not to gain excess weight, avoiding problems such as: gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, premature birth, fetal macrosomia (with increased risks for childbirth). Also remember that special attention must be paid to those foods and drinks that could cause very serious infections during gestation. We all have to go on a diet, then? Yes, but not in his conception of a restricted and prohibitive regime that he often assumes. Here are some tips on the pregnancy diet

What to eat

Getting advice from an expert on how to manage your diet is very important in order not to make trivial errors dictated by poor information or erroneous ideas that spread on the web and in magazines. Here, some tips for you!

Raw and cooked vegetables

At every main meal make sure you eat a nice plate of vegetables, alternating raw and cooked. Raw vegetables are essential to ensure the right doses of vitamins, which would be lost with cooking, while eating cooked vegetables we can increase the quantity and consequently the intake of fiber, which not only give us a sense of greater satiety and they allow you to eat a little less, but they also slow down the absorption of sugars and regulate intestinal motility, preventing constipation.


Fruit, like vegetables, is also rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber and water. Pay attention to the quantity though, because fruit also contains sugar, so don't overdo it: 300-450g of fruit (2-3 medium-sized fruits) are more than enough. Beware of fruit juices and smoothies, which cannot be considered as a substitute for fresh fruit, as they do not contain fibers, but only sugars. Better a homemade juice and consumed immediately (otherwise it loses all the vitamin C). Also there dried fruit it is an excellent food, rich in good fats, but also here be careful not to overdo the quantities, let's limit ourselves to 15g of dried fruit per day (the famous 3 nuts) and avoid salted dried fruit and dehydrated fruit which is instead a concentrate of sugars (dried figs, dehydrated apricots, dates ..)

Milk and dairy products

A very important source of calcium. Make sure to take 3 portions of semi-skimmed milk or yogurt daily (1 portion = 125g) and add 2 teaspoons of grated cheese to the pasta and two portions of fresh cheeses per week.


Beware of those who remove carbohydrates from your diet, they are the main energy source for our body and they must be present at every meal. We prefer simpler and less refined sources (wholemeal flours, plain bread, pasta, rice or other cereals, rusks) limiting those that also contain large quantities of simple sugars, fats or salt (sandwiches, crackers, biscuits, breadsticks ...).

Read also: Healthy foods in pregnancy

What not to eat 

The foods to absolutely avoid during pregnancy are those that could cause serious harm to the baby, due to the risk of contracting serious infections or developing serious malformations.

Raw foods

Avoid all foods of animal origin that have not been thoroughly cooked, therefore: raw meats or roast beef, carpaccio and tartare, smoked meats and fish, raw or partially raw eggs (and therefore also creams that have not been cooked), unpasteurized milk and cheeses made from unpasteurized milk, cold cuts and raw cold cuts.

Frutti di mare

Mussels, oysters, clams and cockles are to be avoided because in the sea they filter the waters and can retain microorganisms that are dangerous for our health.

Cheese ripened with mold 

Brie, camembert, roquefort and gorgonzola should not be consumed during pregnancy.

Artificial sweeteners

The effects they could have on our body are not fully known so it is better to avoid them. They are present in most foods defined as "sugar-free" or "zero-calorie", such as light drinks, candies or chewing gum.

Herbal Teas

We do not connect the concept of "natural" with that of "healthy", as there are totally natural herbs and flowers that could cause dangerous effects in pregnant women. Ask an experienced doctor to suggest which ones might be safe or alternatively avoid them altogether.


Zero alcohol in pregnancy. The ban is not just for hard liquor or large quantities, as there is no threshold below which alcohol consumption is considered safe.

Weekly diet in pregnancy

A balanced diet involves alternating foods throughout the week, so let's see how to eat well without getting bored:


  • breakfast

A cup of semi-skimmed milk and 3 rusks with a thin layer of jam (no added sugar)

  • Lunch

Linguine with pesto + salad with raw mixed vegetables

  • Price

Veal escalopes with sautéed aubergines and bread


  • breakfast

Sugar-free orange juice + a slice of bread with cooked ham

  • Lunch

Risotto with saffron + celery and fennel in pinzimonio

  • Price

Cod au gratin with tomatoes and onions au gratin and bread


  • Breakfast

0% fat Greek yogurt with cereals and a handful of dried fruit

  • Lunch

Pasta with shrimps and courgettes + spinach, rocket and strawberry salad

  • Price

Caprese of mozzarella and ripe tomatoes with basil and bread.


  • breakfast

Semi-skimmed milk with a teaspoon of cocoa and dry biscuits

  • Lunch

Cold spelled with steamed mixed vegetables + raw carrots

  • Price

Lentil burger with fresh lettuce and tomatoes + bread


  • breakfast

Fresh fruit smoothie with a slice of ciabellone

  • Lunch

Farfalle with salmon and ricotta + mixed salad

  • Price

Vegetable soup + ½ piada with soft cheese and rocket


  • breakfast

Cappuccino + rusks

  • Lunch

Salad with 2 hard-boiled eggs and a slice of bread.

  • Price

Pizza margherita or with vegetables.


  • breakfast

Yogurt with fresh fruit and cereals

  • Lunch

Tagliatelle with pea sauce + vegetables in pinzimonio

  • Price

Grilled sardines and courgettes with baked potatoes.

* Always add a mid-morning snack and an afternoon snack to these meals


Diet in pregnancy, tips

Diet in pregnancy, tips | What to eat when pregnant. The dietician's advice on foods to avoid in the nine months of waiting. Example of a recommended diet

How not to gain weight in pregnancy

Controlling your weight will be even easier if you follow these tips:

  • Don't get caught up in the legend that during pregnancy you can eat for two, that's not the case, your needs will only be slightly greater (and only if you are not already overweight)
  • Take regular physical activityThere are very few people for whom exercising during pregnancy is risky, so don't make excuses, the goal is to make your child grow well.
  • Drink lots of water and eliminate any other type of drink that would only increase the sugars and calories you introduce.
  • Clean the pantry of all that is unhealthy: snacks, chips, sweets, sauces, sodas, butter… and don't buy any more. It will also be good for your older children to consume less of these products.

Diet for gestational diabetes

In case of gestational diabetes you will have to keep under control not only the weight but also the glycemia, to do this make sure you:

  • Avoid consuming simple sugars: sugar, cane sugar, honey, fructose, jams, sugary drinks and sweets. Your only source of sugar must be fruit (300g per day) avoiding the sweeter one (bananas, grapes, figs, persimmons and dehydrated fruit) and always consuming it at the end of a meal and never as a snack.
  • Divide your day into 3 meals + 3 snacks, each of which must contain a small amount of complex carbohydrates, always associated with proteins, for example: yogurt or milk with cereals; a slice of bread or rusks with ham or low-fat cheese.
  • Lunch and dinner will need to contain a similar amount of carbohydrates, so for lunch do not overdo the pasta and do not combine it with bread but with a generous portion of vegetables.
  • To reduce the glycemic index of your diet prefer not very ripe fruit, whole grains, pasta cooked al dente e prefer pasta and bread to rice and potatoes which should only be consumed infrequently. Here is an example of a balanced day of 2000 Kcal.
  • Breakfast: Cappuccino with barley coffee and 4 rusks
  • Snack: Low-fat yogurt with 30g of whole grains
  • Lunch: 70g of pasta al dente with a tablespoon of pesto + 1 peach
  • Merenda: 30g of bread with a tablespoon of chickpea and beetroot hummus
  • Price: 100g of grilled turkey with raw carrots, 100g of bread and three apricots
  • After dinner: A glass of milk with 3 dry biscuits

Diet for the first trimester of pregnancy 

Below you can see a typical food day for a normal weight and very active girl (30 minutes of walk every day) in the first trimester of pregnancy, from 1800Kcal.

  • Breakfast: Orange juice + 4 rusks with jam
  • Snack: Low-fat yogurt with fresh berries
  • Lunch: 90g of couscous with vegetables + mixed salad + 1 kiwi
  • Merenda: A cup of milk and cocoa with 3 dry biscuits
  • Price: Meatballs of legumes and vegetables + 80g of wholemeal bread + 2 plums

Diet for the second trimester

Same girl, in the second quarter: about 2060 Kcal.

  • Breakfast: Milk + 5 rusks with a thin layer of jam
  • Snack: Three small mandarins
  • Lunch: 100g of risotto with asparagus and a nice sprinkling of Parmesan cheese + 1 pear
  • Merenda: 40g of bread with a spoonful of ricotta and cherry tomatoes
  • Price: 100g of stracchino with 100g of bread and mixed salad.

Diet in pregnancy for the third trimester  

For a girl who is active in the third trimester we could consider a diet of about 2300 Kcal

  • Breakfast: An orange juice and a toast with 20g of cooked ham
  • Snack: White yogurt with muesli
  • Lunch: 120g of pasta with cauliflower cream and a nice sprinkling of Parmesan
  • Merenda: A fresh fruit smoothie and a slice of margherita cake
  • Price: 100g of mackerel with 250g of baked potatoes and steamed broccoli + 1 apple
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