Food for pregnant women can include most of the things you normally eat. Vegetarians can remain vegetarians as long as they ensure that the fetus is getting the proper amount of protein and calcium. Calcium is especially important to both mother and child. If the mother’s body does not get enough calcium, she may be at a greater risk for developing osteoporosis. The growing fetus needs a great deal of calcium to grow strong, healthy bones, and if there is not enough calcium in the mother’s diet, the calcium will be taken from the mother’s bones, leaving her at greater risk for bone fractures and, of course, osteoporosis. In terms of caloric intake, food for pregnant women should include approximately 200-300 more calories than a woman’s pre-pregnancy diet. Foods to Avoid during PregnancyFoods to avoid during pregnancy should include raw meat of any kind, raw eggs, or certain types of cheese and fish. Soft cheeses such as queso blanco, queso fresco, blue cheese, feta cheese, Brie, Camembert and others may contain harmful bacteria. Mercury is a preoccupation in certain types of fish. Shark, tilefish, swordfish, and king mackerel, for example, all contain a certain level of mercury in their fatty tissues. Consuming large amounts of mercury can translate into brain damage and development delays for a pregnant woman’s fetus. Developmental delays may include delays in learning motor skills such as walking & hand/eye coordination, or talking and potty training. Off the pregnancy food list are some types of fish which may also contain high levels of an industrial pollutant known most commonly as PCB. The fatty tissues of striped bass, bluefish, salmon, walleye, pike, trout and others may contain levels of PCB that are considered dangerously high for pregnant women. Since acceptable types of fish vary according to geographical location, make sure to consult with an expert from your local Health Department to determine which fish from your area are safe to eat. The March of Dimes has concluded that pregnant women who consume large amounts of PCBs risk their babies being born with decreased memory, IQ, and attention span.