Eating well can help you have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy newborn. Being physically active may help you have a more comfortable 9 months and an easier delivery. Use the ideas and tips below to improve your eating plan and become more physically active before, during, and after your pregnancy. Make changes now, and be a healthy example for your family for a lifetime.
A healthy eating plan for pregnancy includes a variety of nutrient-rich foods. In January 2005, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture jointly released the 2005, Dietary Guidelines for Americans. These new guidelines outline recommendations to promote health and reduce the risk of chronic disease through nutritious eating and physical activity. The recommendations include some of the nutritional needs of pregnancy. For more information about food groups and nutrition values, visit www.healthierus.gov/dietaryguidelines.
Eating a variety of foods that provide
enough calories helps you and your baby
gain the proper amount of weight. During
the first 3 months of your pregnancy, you
do not need to change the number of
calories you get from the foods you
Normal-weight women need an extra 300 calories each day during the last 6 months of pregnancy. This totals about 1,900 to 2,500 calories a day. If you were underweight, overweight, or obese before you became pregnant, or if you are pregnant with more than one baby, you may need a different number of calories. Talk to your health care provider about how much weight you should gain and how many calories you need.
Each of these healthy choices has about 300 calories:
Gaining a healthy amount of weight may help you have a more comfortable pregnancy and delivery. It also may help you have fewer pregnancy complications, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, constipation, and backaches.
Gaining too little weight
during your pregnancy makes it hard for
your baby to grow properly. Talk to your
health care provider if you feel you are
not gaining enough weight.
If you gain too much weight, you may have a longer labor and more difficult delivery. Also, gaining a lot of extra body fat will make it harder for you to return to a healthy weight after you have your baby. If you feel you are gaining too much weight during your pregnancy, talk with your health care provider.
Do not try to lose weight if you are pregnant. If you do not eat enough calories or a variety of foods, your baby will not get the nutrients he or she needs to grow.
Talk to your health care provider about how much weight you should gain during your pregnancy. General weight-gain recommendations listed below refer to weight before pregnancy and are for women expecting only one baby.
If you are underweight, you should gain about 28 to 40 pounds.
If you are normal weight, you should gain about 25 to 35 pounds.
If you are overweight, you should gain about 15 to 25 pounds.
If you are obese, you should gain at least 15 pounds.
Yes. During pregnancy, you and your growing baby
need more of several nutrients. By eating
the recommended number of daily servings
from each of the five food groups, you
should get most of the nutrients you
Be sure to include foods high in folate, such as orange juice, strawberries, spinach, broccoli, beans, and fortified breads and breakfast cereals. Or get it in a vitamin/mineral supplement.
To help prevent birth defects, you must get enough daily folate before as well as during pregnancy. Prenatal supplements contain folic acid (another form of folate). Look for a supplement that has at least 400 micrograms (0.4 milligrams) of folic acid.
Although most health care providers recommend taking a multi-vitamin/mineral “prenatal” supplement before becoming pregnant, during pregnancy, and while breastfeeding, always talk to your health care provider before taking any supplements.
Yes, you can continue a
vegetarian eating plan during pregnancy,
but talk to your health care provider
To make sure you are getting enough important nutrients, including protein, iron, vitamin B12, and vitamin D, your health care provider may ask you to meet with a registered dietitian who can help you plan meals, and may also recommend that you take supplements.
Meet the needs of your body and help avoid common discomforts of pregnancy by following these tips:
There are certain foods and beverages that can harm your baby if you eat or drink them while you are pregnant. Here is a general list of foods and beverages that you should avoid:
Ask your health care provider for a complete list of foods and beverages that you should avoid.