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The Dos and Don'ts of Pregnancy Nutrition: Three Little-Known Foods to Watch Out For

The word magical has been so overused at this point that it has lost all its meaning. People classify everything from a good cup of coffee to an energizing yoga session as magical when they are decidedly not so. However, one purely non-magical thing that can demand to be called so is pregnancy. The ability to create sentient life from a couple of cells is probably as close to actual magic as we are going to get. 

According to the Office of National Statistics, over 624 thousand babies were born in 2021 in the UK, and we can safely guess that every one of the women giving birth was crippled with anxiety about getting everything right. We are generally more conscious now about the things we can and cannot eat during pregnancy. But in this article, we will go over a list of things that you probably didn’t see coming. 

The Do’s

Now, before we crush your spirits with a list of foods you should avoid during pregnancy, here is a list of foods you don’t need to.


People often ask, “can pregnant women eat prawns?”. The answer is a resounding yes, provided it’s fresh and has been cooked properly. Fully cooked prawns can be a great addition to a healthy pregnancy diet, as they offer a wealth of nutrients and health benefits. Prawns are an excellent source of protein, which is essential for fetal development and maintaining your own energy levels.

They are also rich in other key nutrients, such as vitamin B12, selenium, and omega-3 fatty acids, which can help support a healthy pregnancy and reduce the risk of certain complications. Just be sure to always cook prawns thoroughly to avoid any potential risk of foodborne illness, and consult with your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian for specific dietary recommendations during pregnancy.

Leafy Greens

Here is a less surprising one. Leafy greens are a nutrient-dense food that should be a staple of any healthy pregnancy diet. Not only are they low in calories, but they are also packed with essential vitamins and minerals that can help support your baby's growth and development. Leafy greens are particularly high in folate, a B vitamin that is critical for preventing neural tube defects in your growing baby. 

They are also rich in iron, which is necessary for the production of red blood cells and can help prevent anemia during pregnancy. Additionally, leafy greens are an excellent source of calcium, which is important for building strong bones and teeth for both you and your baby. So, be sure to incorporate plenty of leafy greens into your meals during pregnancy to reap these benefits and support a healthy pregnancy.


During pregnancy, you can eat as much starchy food as you want, guilt-free. That means potatoes, rice, pasta, oats, and everything else that made you feel guilty about eating them before. Starch should be a part of your diet anyway, but during pregnancy, they are especially helpful. Starch makes you feel full faster and can help you tackle the fits of hunger without actually eating too much. 

If you want to make sure you don’t put on too much weight eating all this, there’s a guideline for that too. NHS recommends that starchy food should cover a little over a third of your plate, and if you want to go healthier, you should opt for wholegrain options instead of refined ones. 

The Don’ts 

Now that your spirits are hopefully a little up, let’s work on bringing them back down. Because, as we all know, a healthy diet is all about balance. 


Don’t worry. You don’t have to give up eating fish altogether during pregnancy if you don’t want to. What you actually need to be careful about is mercury. Mercury is a naturally occurring element, and you probably know that it isn’t good for your health. But you should know that it’s even worse for your baby.

There are certain fish like swordfish, king mackerel, barramundi, shark, and southern bluefin tuna that contain dangerous amounts of mercury. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, exposure to mercury can cause damage to the developing brain and nervous system of a fetus. Therefore, as a mother-to-be, you must keep in mind which fish are dangerous and avoid them at all costs. 


Drinking too much caffeine during pregnancy is not a good thing to do. It can contribute to hypertension in the expecting mother, and it has also been associated with a higher risk of miscarriage, low birth weight, and a range of other problems related to pregnancy. 

But the good news for coffee lovers is that you don’t have to cut off caffeine entirely. Drinking caffeine in moderation is okay. In fact, Penn Medicine notes that drinking less than 200 mg of caffeine (around 2 six-ounce cups) a day might even be healthy. However, it warns that expecting mothers should not take up drinking coffee, hoping it would have health benefits for them. 

Frozen Ready to Eats 

If you’re like most people, you probably have a stash of frozen nuggets, hot dogs, and burger patties hidden away somewhere for convenience. Why wouldn’t you? They are easy to prepare, and they are as delicious as anything else you’ll find out there. Turns out they are also as dangerous to a pregnant lady as kryptonite is to Superman. 

Your gut will be extremely sensitive during pregnancy, and eating these is almost a guaranteed one-way trip to diarrhea town. If you are unlucky, they can cause even more serious digestion problems. But if you do absolutely want to eat them, which is a very understandable desire, make sure they are steaming hot. 

As we reach the end of this list, here is a last piece of advice. Listen to your body. Remember that diet plans are tailored to the individual. There is a certain food that one should generally include or avoid, like the ones mentioned here. But, take into account how your body is reacting to the food you are putting in, and be sure to consult with your doctor in case of any confusion.

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