Healthy Fats to Eat During Pregnancy

How good sources of fat can be a powerful part of a pregnancy diet—for both your health and your baby’s development.

Fats are important to your baby's development and may have benefits for your health as well. Here’s what you need to know.

When it comes to fats in your diet, lots of questions may come up. For instance, are nuts good or bad? Should you use certain types of salad or cooking oils? What kinds of fats should you limit? Although there are certain types of fats it’s best to limit (saturated fats), there are also healthy fats to eat that are quite good for you and your baby—and provide you with much-needed energy while you’re expecting. Here’s help to sort out the fat facts.

 

Good Sources of Fat

  • Fats from fish: Thinking about serving fish for dinner? Try salmon. This fish, along with other seafood, like shrimp, is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, a polyunsaturated type of fat that’s important for growing babies—as well as their moms. In particular, seafood is rich in docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 that helps support your little one’s developing eyes and brain. And while it’s safe to eat seafood about twice a week, moms-to-be want to make sure to choose fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury, such as shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, Pollack, and catfish.
  • Fats from nuts and seeds: When it comes to healthy fats to eat, monounsaturated fats count along with polyunsaturated ones. Monounsaturated fats are beneficial for moms and babies and have been shown to be good for the heart when used in place of unsaturated fats. Polyunsaturated fats abound in nuts (like walnuts) and seeds (such as sunflower and pumpkin). Monounsaturated fats are found in avocados, as well such oils as olive oil.

Fats to Pass By

  • Fats from deep-fried foods and sweets: Although it’s fine to indulge on occasion, it’s better not to include too many of these foods in your diet, as they’re high in trans fats. Trans fats are usually created when oil is partially hydrogenated. Trans fats have been associated with effects on cholesterol levels and heart health. Along with limiting trans fats, it’s also smart to choose low-fat cheeses and lean meats and poultry, which can help lower your intake of saturated fat.