Eat the right food While you are pregnant it very important to eat a healthy balanced diet. Your doctor or midwife will advise you to take extra supplements. You are not 'eating for two'. Each woman and each pregnancy is different and your needs will change throughout the pregnancy. Your GP and midwife will be able to give you advice on the right foods for you to eat to maintain a steady and healthy weight gain. Listen to your body and let your appetite tell you when, and how much, to eat. However, eating lots of fatty foods, including cakes and biscuits, will mean that you won't fill very quickly and will be taking in lots of unnecessary calories. As a general guide, try to eat lots of vegetables and fruit. Starchy foods, such as brown bread, baked potatoes, pasta and rice, are 'complex carbohydrates' that fill you up without being full of calories. Your doctor will probably advise you to take extra supplements of folic acid, if you have not already begun doing so, which has been proven to reduce the risk of your baby developing spina bifida. Avoiding eating certain foods When you are pregnant there are some foods that you should avoid because they are unsafe for your baby. These include: Unpasteurized cheeses, which may carry listeria (a bacteria that is killed by the pasteurization process). Eating foods containing listeria increases the risk of a miscarriage. Check the label when you buy cheeses to find out if it is unpasteurized. If you are unsure - however appetizing it looks - it is probably best to avoid it. Also: Some other types of cheese Avoid cheeses such as Camembert, Brie or chevre (a type of goats' cheese), or others that have a similar rind. You should also avoid blue cheeses. These cheeses are made with mould and they can contain listeria, a type of bacteria that could harm your unborn baby. Raw or undercooked meats may also contain listeria and should therefore be avoided. It is probably a good idea to steer clear of shellfish, sushi, and rare meats like steak. Also, if you are having a barbecue, ensure the meat is thoroughly cooked before eating. Raw or lightly-cooked eggs may contain salmonella, an organism that causes food poisoning. If you are pregnant it is best to eat hard-boiled rather than soft-boiled eggs. Also, be wary of foods containing raw egg, such as mayonnaise and mousse desserts. Always read the label before buying foods to check whether they contain raw eggs. Liver contains high levels of vitamin A that can cause foetal abnormalities if eaten in excess. Foods containing high amounts of liver, such as patÃ©, are therefore best avoided during pregnancy. Certain fish as the government's Food Standards Agency has recommended that pregnant women don't eat shark, swordfish or marlin, as it may contain potentially unsafe levels of naturally occurring mercury. They also advise that women who intend to become pregnant, are pregnant or breastfeeding, should eat no more than two medium-size cans of tuna (with a drained weight of 140g per can), or one fresh tuna steak per week. This is comparable to six rounds of tuna sandwiches or three tuna salads per week. Herbs to avoid during pregnancy Added 09/01/07 Various sources have recommended avoiding the following herbs during pregnancy. These herbs should also be avoided after ovulation, in case you may be pregnant. Barberry Bloodroot, Calamus Cascara, Sagrada Fennel Flaxseed, Goldenseal Juniper, Lavender Licorice Root, Male Fem Mayapple, Mistletoe Passion Flower, Pennyroyal (a strong uterine stimulant!!!),Periwinkle Poke Root Rhubarb, Sage St. John's Wort Tansy Thyme, Wild Cherry Wormwood, Yarrow Foods you don't need to avoid (British Food Standard Agency) It can be confusing trying to work out which foods you can eat and which foods you should avoid when you're pregnant. You might find it helpful to look at this list of some of the foods you don't need to avoid: Shellfish, including prawns - as long as they are part of a hot meal and have been properly cooked Live or bio yoghurt Probiotic drinks Fromage frais Creme fraiche Soured cream Spicy food Mayonnaise, ice cream, salad dressing - as long as they haven't been made using raw egg. Generally, mayonnaise, ice cream and salad dressing you buy in shops will have been made with pasteurised egg, which means it's safe to eat. But it's better to avoid home-made versions if they contain raw egg. If you're not sure about any of these foods when you're eating out, ask staff for more information. Honey - it's fine for pregnant women but honey isn't suitable for babies under a year old. Many types of cheese including: Hard cheese, such as Cheddar and Parmesan Feta Ricotta Mascarpone Cream cheese Mozzarella Cottage cheese Processed cheese, such as cheese spreads Caffeine: It's important not to have more than 300mg a day. This is because high levels of caffeine can result in babies having a low birth weight, or even miscarriage. Each of these contains roughly 300mg of caffeine: 3 mugs of instant coffee (100mg each) 4 cups of instant coffee (75mg each) 3 cups of brewed coffee (100mg each) 6 cups of tea (50mg each) 8 cans of cola (up to 40mg each) 4 cans of 'energy' drink (up to 80mg each) 8 (50g) bars of plain chocolate (up to 50mg each). Caffeine in milk chocolate is about half that of plain chocolate So if you eat a bar of plain chocolate and drink 3 cups of tea, a can of cola and a cup of instant coffee in a day, you'll have reached your 300mg limit.