A healthy diet in pregnancy is much the same as a healthy diet for everyone, there are just a few extra things to take into consideration. Your baby will reap the benefits of your healthy diet while he or she is still growing in your womb.


  • Eating well during pregnancy reduces your child’s chances of developing diseases later in life
  • You do not need to eat for two! It’s only in your last trimester when you need just 200 extra calories – that’s a large banana and a glass of semi-skimmed milk or half a ham sandwich
  • Follow general healthy eating advice regarding food groups, however check foods to avoid during pregnancy
  • Make sure you are including enough nutrient rich foods in your diet – particularly those with iodine and calcium
  • Take folic acid (up to 12 weeks) and vitamin D supplements daily to support your baby’s development

As part of the Healthy Start Scheme, vouchers towards milk (and fruits and vegetables) are available to pregnant women on low incomes, and all pregnant women under 18. Free vitamin supplements are also available through the scheme. To find out more about Healthy Start ask your health visitor, or visit www.healthystart.nhs.uk.

Most dairy foods can be enjoyed during pregnancy but there are some that should be avoided or treated with caution.

Unpasteurised drinking milk and cheeses should be avoided during pregnancy as there is a small risk of food poisoning from these type of products. Raw milk products could carry a bug called listeria which could make you feel unwell.

Soft cheese with blue veins e.g. Danish blue, Roquefort, Gorgonzola
Mould-ripened cheese e.g. Camembert, Brie, Chevre (unless cooked thoroughly)

It is fine to consume pasteurised, or UHT, milk and yogurt (including bio-yogurt) during pregnancy. Further information on non-dairy foods to avoid or limit during pregnancy can be found here.

A healthy diet for a new mum is very similar to a healthy diet for all. Breastfeeding will probably make you a bit thirstier and a bit hungrier than usual. This is because your body is having to work harder to produce breastmilk and will need more energy and fluids – you actually burn around an extra 500 calories a day depending on the stage of breastfeeding.


  • Be guided by your appetite, fill up on the good stuff
  • Do not restrict food intake or limit the variety of foods – this could result in a low intake of important nutrients getting to your baby
  • There are some nutrients that you will now have higher requirements of such as calcium, which is needed for normal bone development in children.
  • It’s also important to make sure you have enough iodine rich foods in your diet. Iodine is needed for a baby’s brain development
  • Don’t forget to take a supplement of 10 micrograms of vitamin D every day

Vouchers to exchange for free fruit and vegetables and milk are available to some new mums under the Healthy Start Scheme, visit www.healthystart.nhs.uk to find out more.
For further information on nutrients and foods to be aware of during this time, download our publications below.

  • A short guide to eating well during pregnancy and breastfeeding.


Last reviewed: 03/2019
Next review due: 03/2021