11 Pregnancy Food Rules Every Woman Should Know

There are a lot of dos and don’ts when it comes to pregnancy and food. To complicate things there are food cravings and food aversions. And then there are those of us (me included) who just can’t seem to keep anything down. Pregnancy and food are not easy. 

As part of my work with Dr. P. Phillips Baby Place at Winter Park, I had the chance to speak with nutritionist Leigha Klebe about the most important things pregnant women should keep in mind when it comes to food. Of course, as with any pregnancy-related advice, you should always consult with a doctor before changing your own diet. But I hope these tips will help.

What To Eat Pregnant

Morning Sickness Tips

I was one of those unlucky few to experience extreme morning sickness to the point of Hyperemesis Gravidarum with my second. I was sick with both kids, but nothing like with my second. So I know first-hand how hard it can be to eat anything. Leigha had these tips to suggest for those who are suffering from morning sickness.

Six Small Meals A Day – By breaking your meals up into six small meals a day you ward off two triggers of morning sickness 1) you never let yourself get hungry 2) you don’t overstuff yourself. 

Stick To Easy-To-Digest Foods – Greasy, heavy, fatty foods are harder to digest and can trigger symptoms of morning sickness. If you are already prone, stick with lower fat foods. Try cold foods too as the odor from hot foods can be overpowering. Crackers, pretzels and even fruit are good ideas to snack on. 

Drink Water, But Not With Your Meal – Of course it is very important to stay hydrated and drink as much water as you can, especially if you are throwing up. But you will get the most “bang for your buck” if you don’t drink you water with food. Water fills you up, so you won’t be able to eat as much food, which could lead to over stuffing and then feeling nauseous again quickly because you are hungry sooner. Instead drink water in between your meals. 

Good Foods To Fill Up On

Iron, Calcium, Folate – While you should also be taking a prenatal vitamin, it is always a good idea to get as much of the good stuff as you can from your food as well. Eating foods that are rich in iron, calcium and folate should be your goal. Three cups of dairy, low-fat yogurt, cream cheese, etc. daily. Two-five cups of fruit and veggies — fresh, frozen, canned or dried — daily. Limit the fruit juices because it can be a heartburn trigger and because of the excess sugars. 

Helpful Food Prep Tips

Want to help the foods you eat be even more beneficial to your body? (Me too.) Leigha offered a couple of unusual tips that are good to know long after you are pregnant. 

Cast Iron Skillet – If sautéing, use a cast iron skillet. The iron from the skillet is absorbed by the food enriching your meal with extra iron.  

Tomato Sauces – Add tomato sauce to your meat because tomatoes help your body absorb the iron from the meat. 

Drink Your Morning OJ – Not only does OJ help you get in some fruit, but if you drink it with whole-wheat cereals, it will also help you to absorb the with cereal to absorb the iron and folic acid.

Food Safety 

In addition to all of the good stuff you should eat, there are also foods that pregnant women should avoid all together. 

Foods To Avoid:

  • Excessive caffeine
  • Herbal teas (and herbs)
  • Anything raw or undercooked
  • Sushi
  • Processed meats – deli meats, hot dogs, bologna (because of possible Listeria contamination)
  • Unpasteurized dairy
  • Soft cheese like brie or gorgonzola
  • Soft-serve yogurt (it is strained with bacteria to be helpful , but you don’t know how that might affect your baby)

Food Shopping Tips

When I was pregnant with my second, I was so sick I couldn’t even walk into a grocery store without throwing up. Leigha had a few tips to help making food shopping a little more bearable.

Go Early – By shopping early in the day you will have the most energy and you will avoid the crowds, which means you will prevent excessive standing. This way you can get in and get out. Plus perishable foods won’t have been sitting around as long early in the morning. 

Bring Snacks – Keep your energy up and nausea at bay with a few well-planned snacks like a banana, apple, crackers, etc.

Enlist Help – Ok, this one is mine. When I couldn’t bare to go any more, my husband took over the grocery store chore. (Thanks sweetie!)

Catering To New Moms At The Baby Place At Winter Park Hospital 

After a pregnancy full of food limitations — not to mention an exhausting delivery — many women find themselves hungry after delivery. At the Baby Place at Winter Park Central Florida moms have a variety of food options at their disposal which dispel any old notions of “hospital food.”  I chatted with Vickie Smith, who heads up the Birth Experience Design Team at the Baby Place about all of the food options available, and I was left impressed and a bit hungry.

Dr. P. Phillips Baby Place At Winter Park Memorial Hospital Room
If I had to describe the food availability for new moms at Winter Park hospital in one word, it would be flexibility. Forget meals served at 7 am, 12 pm and 6 pm, new moms can order food to their rooms when they are hungry. Which also means a clanking food tray isn’t brought in the moment mom has gotten the baby to sleep. 

Mom has visitors? No problem, visitors can order companion meals for just $5 each. A great option for dad and siblings who want to stay for extended periods of time. Mom can even have her refrigerator stocked with her choice of snacks and beverages.

In addition to the hospital menu from which mom can choose her meal, she can also take advantage of the onsite concierge service to deliver from one of the local eateries. Craving a sub after nine months of avoiding lunch meats? The concierge will bring mom Subway. 

For some fine dining to celebrate your new arrival, mom and dad can order a gourmet meal for two — provided by Ruth’s Chris! Yes! That Ruth’s Chris will deliver a meal from a special limited menu just for the new mom. Yum.

Outside of full meals, mom and her guests are invited to nosh at their convenience in the relaxation lounge where scones, hot (or iced) tea, fresh fruit and cookies are provided. 

And my favorite feature is the daily smoothie delivery. Every day during the afternoon quite time smoothies are provided for mom and dad.

Finally, moms are treated to a nighttime turn-down service (just like a fancy hotel) complete with a lullaby card and a chocolate on her pillow. Ahhhh…

Customizable dinning options and special treats are just a few of the things that make a delivery at the Baby Place at Winter Park Hospital special and unique. Learn more about how the Birth Experience Design Team can make your delivery truly special and how Winter Park Hospital can help answer questions throughout your pregnancy

This giveaway has ended.


  1. Sonya Morris says:

    Shopping early in the morning! I was worn out by lunch time during pregnancy!

  2. Rebecca Parsons says:

    eat light meals throughout the day it was so much better on my stomach!

  3. Preggie pops and lemonade helped so much!

  4. Janet W. says:

    One helpful food tip that I didn’t know was Add tomato sauce to your meat because tomatoes help your body absorb the iron from the meat.

  5. Heather Hayes Panjon says:

    My Food Tip Is To Enjoy Fresh Fruits And Veggies As A Snack, Great Way To Keep Hydrated Throughout Pregnancy.

  6. I didn’t know I should avoid soft serve yogurt. Thanks for the tip!

  7. TawndaM says:

    I never knew tomato sauce helps the body absorb iron from meats… I’ll have to remember that!

  8. Natalie S says:

    Go Early! That’s always a hard one for me with 3 boys ages 5 and under in tow 🙂

  9. Samantha C. says:

    Definitely eating healthy veggies for a snack throughout the day!

  10. e michelle says:

    six meals a day is an awesome tip you dont fill yourself up and make yourself sick!

  11. Alisha Sienkiel says:

    I didn’t know the tip about the tomato sauce on meats so that will be helpful. Thanks for the giveaway and tips!!

  12. I always ate lots of small meals, it helps to always have something in your tummy,mi would always eat before I went to bed- it helped me sleep better, and longer .

  13. Summer I. says:

    The tip I like is eating 6 small meals a day. It is definitely something all pregnant women do.

  14. Jessica Beard says:

    I like the idea of always have a snack with you so your stomach is never empty.

  15. Stacey b says:

    My favorite tip is to bring snacks. It is always a good a idea to have snacks with you when preggers.

  16. amy pugmire says:

    The six small meals a day. I usually eat three times and way overeat. I am def gonna try to try some smaller meals.

  17. anne stewart says:

    The food shopping tips!

  18. For me it is definitely going early in the day.

  19. courtney b says:

    soft serve yogurt which is my FAVORITE! very upset about this lol !:) guess its back to regular ice cream!!!

  20. Tamara N says:

    The most helpful tip for me is adding tomato sauce to meat in order to help the body absorb iron. I never knew that.

  21. christine jessamine says:

    I need to fill up more on good foods. especially Iron.

  22. Kristin M says:

    Eating small meals through the pregnancy

  23. Drink water but not with meals ….

  24. Sally T. says:

    That you get iron from a cast iron fry pan~I should have known this~Duh!

  25. HeatherK says:

    Thanks for the tips!
    I always ate small meals, and made sure I had healthy snacks like kind bars and almonds with me throughout the day.

  26. Eating small meals throughout the day was extremely helpful to me and kept me from getting sick!

  27. Use a cast iron skillet for the extra iron.

  28. Daniela Tapia says:

    The Morning Sickness tips were great, and i’m currently pregnant, i didn’t think six small meals a day could make a difference instead of three. But since i’m in my last trimester , i will still try it.

  29. Katherine says:

    For me it was go and do early when I had the energy

  30. Samantha Plotkin says:

    6 small meals a day really does help with morning sickness and with getting enough calories in!

  31. michelle oakley warner says:

    my favorite tip was helpful food prep ideas, i never knew that about a cast iron skillet, thats awesome. I also did not know that the right foods together go for maximum values of different things, that is the coolest, i am going to look more into that one.

  32. Melinda says:

    Thanks for the tip about water! I always drink water with my meals, but will change this habit.

  33. Leigh Borders says:

    I also felt it was best to go early when I knew I had the strength and energy to do it.

  34. Cassandra Eastman says:

    For me the best tip is ‘Bring Snacks – Keep your energy up and nausea at bay with a few well-planned snacks like a banana, apple, crackers, etc.’, such a great idea to help with morning sickness!

  35. saminder gumer says:

    the best tip was to Go Early because you have more energy

  36. I don’t think I’d ever heard about not drinking a lot with your meals. Very interesting!

  37. The foods to avoid list is so important to know. I learned some things on that one!

  38. Bridgette R says:

    Love the tip about Tomato Sauce to help absorb the iron in meats!

  39. Terry Maigi says:

    I had no idea I was supposed to avoid soft serve ice cream! Thanks for the tip!

    • Hey Terry – Just to clarify, not soft-serve ice cream, soft-serve yogurt. All those frozen yogurt places — Menchie’s, Orange Leaf, PinkBerry, etc. Ice cream is good, you just don’t want the probiotics in frozen yogurt.

  40. Natalie F says:

    These are great tips, I wish I had known with my first pregnancy the “six small meals a deal” rule. I learned it with my second and it went much easier!! You also want to avoid sprouts when pregnant.

  41. Natalie Brown says:

    Hello! These are great tips! My tips are to eat plenty of fruits. Melons and fresh peaches especially helped me. I would cut them into small bites and use them as snacks. Thank-you for this generous giveaway!

  42. I kept a pack of crackers near the bedside, and munched them before getting out of bed to ease my morning sickness.

  43. Robin P says:

    Eat 6 small meals.

  44. Laura butts says:

    Eating a paleo lifestyle

  45. Laura butts says:

    Eating grassfed and organic meats provide your body with wonderful health benefits.

  46. Ingrid p. says:

    Six small meals a day was the most helpful tip when I was pregnant with my 2.

  47. Lindsey says:

    Water water water… But not with food. Wish I would have known that.

  48. Rebekah C says:

    Didn’t know the tomato sauce trick, that’s good to know!

  49. Taylor Closet says:

    Avoid Processed Meats.

  50. Amanda Hoffman says:

    i liked the tip about always having a snack

  51. laurie nykaza says:

    The tip of small meals or 6 per day can really help is great thanks

  52. Bring Snacks is the most useful tip as in pregnancy its very common to feel hungry and it gets difficult to stay without food in the condition.

  53. I think the list of foods to avoid is a most helpful reminder.

  54. The food safety tips are very helpful, although I would add Tuna and canned tuna because of the mercury content. Thanks for a great giveaway!

  55. Colleen Boudreau says:

    I like the Add tomato sauce to your meat tip.

  56. ewhatley says:

    6 small meals a day and not drinking water with a meal

  57. I wasn’t aware that you shouldn’t drink water with meals, it makes sense though and will remember it this time around.

  58. Carol W says:

    bring snacks is the best tip. Getting the upset stomach because of hunger is the worst and can easily be fixed. thanks

  59. Melissa Teears says:

    Foods to avoid was the best tip for me

  60. Dianna Thomas says:

    small amounts of foods, many times a day–soda crackers too

  61. ellen beck says:

    Yhe tip of having smaller meals throughoutt the day was the best ip. That would reduce sickness and not overload a stomach being pushed around!

  62. Bianca Dottin says:

    I love Tugboat & The Bird. They have some of the most adorable things!

  63. Milk for heartburn was a must for me!

  64. Jill Myrick says:

    The most helpful to me were the : Eat six small meals a day- as morning sickness made it impossible to eat full meal three times per day. And using a cast iron skillet for cooking as I was highly allergic to iron tablets and remained anemic until using the cast iron skillet.


  65. Eating six small meals was the most helpful hint for me. I couldn’t believe how fast I went from slightly hungry to famished when pregnant. Thanks for the tips.

  66. Becky T says:

    Great post!!

  67. Tabathia B says:

    eating the six small meals because I would get really bad heartburn


  1. […] Let it go – Remember how you over-analyzed everything during your first pregnancy? You might have even had a mini panic attack when trying to register for the right baby gear (oh wait, that was me). How many pregnancy books did you buy during your first pregnancy? I think I had seven. Guess how many I even looked at during my second pregnancy? Zero. Be confident in what you already know, if something big comes up call your doctor, but it’s time to pass those books onto another newbie. One thing you shouldn’t let go is your health, make sure you are getting the proper nutrition you need by brushing up on food rules for pregnant women. […]

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