Nutrition for Adults' Life: Nutrition During Pregnancy (WO1012)


November 17, 2015 - Author: Beth Olson

Nutritional Needs

Weight Gain:The right weight gain (not too little and not too much) is important for both you and your baby. You should discuss the right weight gain for you with your doctor.

Carbohydrates: Over half of your energy should come from carbohydrates, including fiber-rich carbohydrates. Good sources include vegetables, fruits, and whole grain and enriched bread, rice, pasta and breakfast cereal.

Protein: You need protein to build tissue for yourself and your baby You should eat foods that are high in protein 2-3 times per day. Good sources of protein are low-fat meats, fish, poultry, eggs, dried beans and nuts, and milk products.

Calcium: You need 4 or more servings of calcium foods every day for your own needs and for the baby’s growing bones. Good sources of calcium are milk, yogurt, cheese, calcium-fortified orange juice and green leafy vegetables.

Iron: You need iron for healthy blood for you and your baby. You can find iron in meats and fortified grains and cereals as well as in prenatal supplements.

Folic Acid/Folate: Getting enough folic acid (a form of the vitamin folate) might help prevent a serious birth defect in your baby. You need 400 micrograms of folic acid a day from fortified breakfast cereals, fortified grains, and supple- ments. Additional sources of folate include citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables, orange juice and canned or dried beans.

Supplements: Most women get prenatal vitamin and mineral pills from their doctor. If you are pregnant, you should tell your doctor about any supple- ments you are taking, such as vitamins, minerals or herbs.

Here are some problems you may have eating, and ideas to help!

See your doctor if symptoms continue and before taking any medicine.

Upset Stomach:

  • Drink fluids between meals and snacks instead of with food.
  • Eat dry toast or crackers before getting up in the morning.
  • Avoid smells that bother you.


  • Eat smaller meals and eat more often.
  • Don’t lie down right after you eat.
  • Try eating fewer greasy, spicy, or fried foods.


  • Eat dietary fiber every day, such as whole wheat bread, bran flakes, oatmeal, fruits and vegetables.
  • Drink lots of water.

Food Safety

It is important to handle food safely and to choose foods that are safe to eat, especially if you are pregnant. When you are pregnant, you have a greater chance of getting an infection that could be harmful to you or your baby. Listeriosis (lis-TIR-ee-oh-sis) is one kind of infection that you can get from food that is not handled or stored properly.

To avoid getting sick from listeriosis

  • Do not eat cheeses such as feta, blue veined cheeses, and Mexican styled cheeses such as “queso blanco fresco”. (Semi-soft cheeses such as mozzarella, pasteurized processed cheese slices and spreads, cream cheese, and cottage cheese can be safely eaten.)
  • Do not drink cider, juice or milk that has not been pasteurized.
  • Do not eat refrigerated smoked seafood (ex. salmon, trout) unless it is part of a cooked dish such as a casserole.
  • Reheat hotdogs, deli, or lunch meats until steaming before you eat them.
  • Do not eat refrigerator meat spreads; canned ones can be safely eaten.

To keep foods safe

  • When cooking meat use a food thermometer.
  • Separate raw foods from cooked foods.
  • Chill foods in the refrigerator right away.
  • Keep your refrigerator clean.

Always remember to...

  • Wash your hands before preparing food or eating.
  • Wash your hands after using the bathroom.

Healthy Hints

  • Drink plenty of water each day.
  • Eat a variety of foods from USDA’s My Plate: www.
  • Keep active with activities like walking, swimming, low-impact aerobics and yoga.
  • Do not drink alcohol or smoke.
  • If you consume caffeine, limit your daily amount from all sources to that found in 1 12-ounce cup of coffee.
  • Keep all appointments with your health care provider.

Further Information

March of Dimes Go to: Pregnancy

Foodborne Illness and Disease Protect_Your_Baby/index.asp
Protect Your Baby and Yourself From Listeriosis

USDA MyPlate pregnancy-breastfeeding.html

National Women’s Health Information Center pregnancy


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