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Nutrition During Pregnancy

Pregnant woman eating salad.

Having a healthy baby depends mostly on you. What you eat matters to your baby and your health. During pregnancy, you will likely need about 300 more calories per day than before you became pregnant. Each day, try to eat the number of servings listed here for each food group. In addition cut down on salt and caffeine. Limit the amount of sweets and high-fat foods you eat. Don’t smoke or drink alcohol.

Important: See your health care provider as often as requested. If you have any questions, be sure to ask them.

Fruits

2 cups

Examples of one cup servings:

1 medium apple

1 medium orange

1 medium banana

1 cup chopped fruit

1 cup 100% fruit juice (pasteurized)

1/2 cup dried fruit

Vegetables

2-1/2 to 3 cups 

Examples of one serving:

2 cups raw, leafy greens

1 cup raw or cooked cut-up vegetables

1 cup 100% vegetable juice (pasteurized)

Grains & Cereals*

6 to 8 ounces

Examples of one ounce servings:

1 slice bread

1/2 cup cooked rice

1/2 cup cooked cereal

1/2 cup pasta

1 ounce cold cereal

Fats & Oils

6-8 teaspoons

Dairy**

3 cups

Examples of one cup servings:

1 cup milk

1 cup yogurt

1-1/2 ounces natural cheese

2 ounces processed cheese

Protein***

5 to 6-1/2 ounces

Examples of one ounce servings:

1 egg

1 ounce of lean meat, poultry, or fish

1/4 cup cooked beans

1 tablespoon peanut butter

1/2 ounce nuts

Fluids

8 or more 8-ounce glasses

Examples:

Water

Diluted juices: Apple, orange, cranberry

Mineral water

Clear soups, broth

 

*Note: Choose whole grains whenever possible.

** Note:  Try to choose low-fat options; avoid soft cheeses and unpasteurized milk.

*** Notes:  Avoid raw or undercooked meats, fish, and shellfish. Also, some kinds of fish and shellfish may be dangerous to eat when you are pregnant. Ask your health care provider about safe options.

 

Prenatal Supplements

A prenatal supplement is a pill that you take daily during pregnancy. It helps make sure you’re getting the right amount of certain nutrients that are important to your baby. Ask your health care provider to help you choose the best one for you. Important nutrients during pregnancy include:

  • Folic acid: It's best to start taking this supplement 1 month before you start trying to get pregnant. Folic acid helps prevent certain problems in your baby. During pregnancy, you need to take 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day for the first 2 to 3 months after conception, and then 600 mcg is needed for growing fetus and placenta.

  • Iron and calcium: You may also be advised to take these supplements during pregnancy. They help keep you and your baby healthy. Be sure to take them at different times because calcium makes it hard for the body to absorb iron. Taking iron with orange juice helps to increase its absorption.

 

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