Diet During Pregnancy
Pregnancy & Birthing COE Home Page | Birth Statistics in the US | Reproductive Anatomy & Physiology | Planning a Pregnancy | Fertility & Your Menstrual Cycle | Dealing With Infertility | Prenatal Medical Care & Screening | Fetal Development by Trimester | Weight Gain During Pregnancy |
Eating a healthy diet and staying active during your pregnancy will not only benefit your growing baby, but it can also help you look and feel better. It can even help your
Eating Healthfully for You and Your Baby
Eating a variety of nutritious foods can go a long way in keeping you and your baby healthy while you are pregnant. In general, aim to follow the latest version of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans . The new MyPyramid website for pregnant or nursing women allows you to get a food plan based on your specific information, helping you to choose from a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, dairy foods, and healthful fats.
You do not need extra calories during your first trimester, but you should be getting about 300 extra calories per day during your second and third trimesters, to reach a total of about 1,900-2,500 calories a day. These extra calories should come from nutritious foods. Examples of snacks that contain about 300 calories include: one cup of nonfat fruit yogurt and a medium apple, a piece of whole wheat toast with two tablespoons of peanut butter, or one cup of whole grain cereal with ½ cup of nonfat milk and a small banana.
In addition to extra calories, you will need to increase your consumption of certain nutrients, including
Extra calcium is also needed during pregnancy to protect your bone density and help your baby’s bones grow. You should consume the equivalent of three cups of milk per day to get the calcium you need (1 cup milk = 1 cup lowfat yogurt or 1.5 ounces lowfat cheese).
You also need to get enough iron, which helps your and your baby’s blood carry oxygen. Iron-rich foods include lean red meats, enriched grain products, eggs, leafy green vegetables, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, beans and peas, raisins, prunes, and peanuts.
There are certain things you should avoid consuming when you are pregnant, including:
- Alcohol —There is no established safe level of alcohol during pregnancy, so avoid drinking alcoholic beverages while you are pregnant.
- Fish that may have high levels of methylmercury —Avoid eating shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish while pregnant. These fish have high levels of methylmercury, which could harm your baby. You can safely consume up to 12 ounces of fish that is lower in methylmercury (eg, shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, catfish). Eat no more than six ounces of canned albacore (white) tuna or tuna steaks per week. Farm-raised fish may contain elevated levels of dioxin.
- Soft cheeses and cold lunch meats, hot dogs, and deli meats —Soft cheeses (eg, Brie, feta, Camembert, Roquefort, Mexican-style soft cheese), cold lunch meats, hot dogs, and deli meats can contain bacteria that can harm your unborn baby.
- Raw fish, meat, or poultry —These foods can result in food poisoning that may cause harm to your baby.
- Nonfood items —Some pregnant women crave nonfood products, such as cornstarch or clay, a condition called pica . You should avoid consuming these things and tell your doctor if you are having cravings for nonfood items.
You should also consider limiting your intake of caffeine. There is conflicting evidence about potential harms of caffeine. Caffeine has recently been reported to be, associated with an increased risk of
If you are a vegetarian, are lactose intolerant, or have other dietary restrictions, consult your doctor or a dietitian, who can help you plan a well-balanced, healthful diet to fit your lifestyle and needs.
American Pregnancy Association
MyPyramid for Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Dietitians of Canada
Women's Health Matters
Eating during pregnancy. Nemours Foundation website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/parent/nutrition_fit/nutrition/eating_pregnancy.html . Accessed August 1, 2005.
Eating for two. March of Dimes website. Available at: http://www.marchofdimes.com/pnhec/159_823.asp . Accessed August 1, 2005.
Fit for two: tips for pregnancy. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Weight–Control Information Network website. Available at: http://win.niddk.nih.gov/publications/two.htm . Accessed August 1, 2005.
MyPyramid for Pregnancy and Breastfeeding website. Available at: http://www.mypyramid.gov/mypyramidmoms/index.html . Accessed October 30, 2007.
2/15/2007 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance : Bech BH, Obel C, Henriksen TB, Olsen J. Effect of reducing caffeine intake on birth weight and length of gestation: randomised controlled trial. BMJ. 2007 Jan 26;[Epub ahead of print].
11/6/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
: Christian P, Stewart CP, LeClerq SC, et al. Antenatal and postnatal iron supplementation and childhood mortality in rural Nepal: a prospective follow-up in a randomized, controlled community trial.
Am J Epidemiol.
Christian P, Khatry SK, Katz J, et al. Effects of alternative maternal micronutrient supplements on low birth weight in rural Nepal: double blind randomised community trial. BMJ. 2003;326(7389):571.
Last reviewed June 2010 by
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © 2007 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.