Maternity Tips

You are here: Home > Dietary advice for pregnant women

Dietary advice for pregnant women

When you are pregnant, it is important to eat a varied diet so that you get all the nutrients you need.

Some foods may contain microorganisms or substances that can be harmful to the fetus, even if they are not dangerous for you as an adult. The child is more sensitive to these topics in the fetal stage than later in life. Many of the foods mentioned below are not used as much in the ordinary Swedish diet and therefore only apply to a small group of pregnant women. The likelihood of the fetus harming the mother from eating these foods is small, but the National Food Agency still recommends that pregnant women follow the advice below.

Dietary advice for pregnant women

When you are pregnant, it is important to eat a varied diet so that you get all the nutrients you need. You can read about the most important nutrients in the brochure "Advice on food for you that is pregnant" distributed by the midwife at the midwife reception. You can also find the brochure on the Swedish Food Agency's website.


Meat is an important source of several nutrients. Pregnant people can eat all types of meat if it is cooked through or cooked through. Avoid raw meat of all types, such as salted, smoked or minced meat, or tartar. Harmful bacteria and parasites can give you infections that affect your baby. Follow the general cooking tips below.

Due to pollution after the Chernobyl accident, food from certain areas in Sweden - including reindeer meat, game, freshwater fish, mushrooms and wild berries, can still carry some radioactivity. Pregnants should not consume more than 40,000 becquerel per year. On the Swedish Food Agency's website there are documents on radioactively contaminated food products.

Processed meat products

You who are pregnant should eat sliced ​​meats when they are as fresh as possible to reduce the risk of getting harmful bacteria in you. Check the expiry date.

Fish and seafood

Fish is an important source of several nutrients for you who are pregnant. However, seafood, fish liver and some special fish species can be contaminated with environmental toxins. Specific dietary advice on fish for pregnant and lactating women is available on the Swedish Food Agency's website. Generally speaking, pregnant women should remember to heat treat seafood well before eating.

Pregnant can eat all types of seafood, except below. Eat a maximum of 2-3 times a year in total of the following varieties.

  • These may contain mercury: Perch, Pike, Pike, Shark, Lake, Rock, Swordfish, Large Halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus), fresh or frozen tuna (canned well).
  • These may contain high levels of dioxin and PCBs: Wild-caught salmon and trout from the Baltic Sea, Lake Vänern and Lake Vättern, herring / herring from the Baltic Sea, wild-caught whitefish from Lake Väternn and wild-caught trout from Lake Vättern.
  • Also: Pregnant should not eat crab elm food from the shell (white crab meat in chlorine and the shell's house can be safely eaten) or products containing fish liver.

Processed fish products

Processed fish products are also an important source of several nutrients. Heat-treated fish products should be served piping hot. Follow the general cooking tips below.

Pregnant women should avoid acidified fish. Canned or smoked fish, such as smoked salmon, should be eaten as fresh as possible.


According to the National Food Agency, pregnant women can eat sushi, but just like with smoked and smoked fish, you should eat fresh or freshly packaged products, and check the packaging date.

When making sushi yourself:

Wild fish caught in the sea may contain parasites (worms). Wild fish from the sea that should be eaten raw or almost raw should therefore be frozen before being used to eliminate any parasites (does not apply to farmed salmon / trout or other farmed fish). The fish should be frozen to an internal temperature of -20 ° C or lower for at least 24 hours.

Pregnants should avoid eating sushi with tuna (see warning of environmental toxins above).

Pickled herring

Pregnant can eat pickled herring. If you make pickled herring yourself: Remember to freeze the fish before use to eliminate any parasites (see sushi advice above).

Milk and cheese

Milk and milk products are also important for you who are pregnant. Some products may contain unwanted microbes. Follow the general cooking tips below in the text.

Use milk and cheese during pregnancy, but not:

  • Unpasteurized milk.
  • Cheese from unpasteurized milk.

The cheese producer must label the products if they have used milk that has not been heat treated in the cheese production. You should also inform about the type of heat treatment the milk has undergone. The information is often found in the ingredient list, while it can be provided as an additional information on the packaging.

The requirement to label the products with which type of heat treatment the milk has undergone, and whether unpasteurized milk has been used, applies throughout the EEA.

According to Swedish regulations, there is a requirement to label the products with the phrase "made from unpasteurized milk" for milk-based products made from raw milk. In other European countries, it is often stated that it is raw milk used in production instead of "non-pasteurized".

If you are unsure if the milk or cheese product you are going to buy is pasteurized, you should ask in the store. It can also be good to pay special attention to this abroad.

Soft and semi-soft cheeses

Soft and semi-soft cheeses - such as brie and camembert - and cheeses such as gorgonzola should be eaten as fresh as possible.

Coffee, tea and cola

Some foods contain relatively much caffeine. This is especially true of coffee, tea, cola products and so-called energy drinks. Studies have shown that consuming large amounts of caffeine in pregnant women can increase the risk of miscarriage.

Pregnant people can drink coffee, tea and cola products, but no more than:

  • 1-2 cups of coffee per day, or
  • 3-4 cups of tea per day, or
  • 1 liter of cola, energy drink or other caffeinated beverage per day.

Each of the indicated amounts corresponds to between 100 and 200 mg of caffeine per day. This means that pregnant women who drink coffee should reduce their intake of tea and soda with caffeine and vice versa.

Also keep in mind that so-called anticellulite creams can contain relatively large amounts of caffeine that are absorbed into the body. A half-body lubrication can equal 100 mg of caffeine. Therefore, if you use such skin cream, you should reduce the intake of coffee, tea and cola.

Important to remember

The following advice applies to cooking in general, but you who are pregnant should think extra about good hygiene:

  • Wash your hands before cooking, before eating and between handling different ingredients. Pregnant women should be especially careful to wash their hands after being in contact with soil, sand or cats.
  • Always rinse fruits, vegetables and berries. Soil bacteria can cause serious infections.
  • Use clean tools.
  • Bacteria can grow in lukewarm food. Hot food should therefore be smoking hot. At 70 °C, most bacteria die. If it is a long time before the food is to be served, it is better to cool the food quickly and then heat it again. When using a microwave to cook, stir or leave the dish on for a minute so that the heat is evenly distributed.
  • Keep raw and cooked food apart. Food poisoning bacteria can be transferred from a raw material to a finished dish.


When you are pregnant, it is important to eat a varied diet so that you get all the nutrients you need. Pregnants do not have to follow any precautionary measures to prevent allergies in the child.

Medicines and health food products

Medicines should only be taken in consultation with healthcare personnel.

You should also be careful about some health food products when you are pregnant. Often herbs and new unknown substances are used in the products, and research on how such ingredients affect the fetus is lacking.

Contact your healthcare professional for more information.

Out of country

Many countries have a higher incidence of harmful bacteria and parasites than we have in Sweden. Therefore, it is wise for you as a pregnant woman to be extra careful about food abroad. You must be even stricter with the rules you apply in Sweden when you are abroad. In particular, avoid raw meat, unwashed vegetables, fruits and berries. Keep these tips in mind even when you are at a restaurant. Talk to health care professionals before traveling.

Alcohol and tobacco

All the drugs the mother gets herself goes over to the baby via the placenta. Especially during the first part of pregnancy, when the internal organs are formed, the baby is sensitive to drugs. Known injuries are malformations of the brain and other internal organs. For alcohol, no minimum amount is known for what can be harmful to the fetus. Therefore, total abstinence from alcohol is recommended throughout pregnancy.

Toxic substances in tobacco pass to the fetus. Smoking also reduces the blood supply to the fetus by contraction of the blood vessels in the placenta and by lower oxygen content in the mother's blood. Smoking mothers give birth to children who, on average, weigh 200 grams less than children to non-smoking mothers. A wide range of complications before and after birth are more prevalent in children of smoking mothers.


Pregnant women can safely eat honey. However, when the baby is born, you must remember that infants should not be given honey. Honey can contain a bacterium that is especially dangerous for children under 12 months.

The lime product gourd chalk

Pregnant women should not eat gourd chalk, which is also known by the name "calabash chalk". Gourd chalk is traditionally used by pregnant women from Nigeria and other West African countries - among other things to relieve morning sickness during pregnancy. The product - also called "La Craie", "Argile Nzu", "Mabele" or "Calabar stone" - contains heavy metal lead.


Maternity Tips Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved