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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 each day than you ate 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. And please don’t smoke or drink alcohol.

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

Fruits

1-1/2 to 2 servings

Examples of one serving:

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 servings

Examples of one serving:

2 cups leafy greens

1 cup raw or cooked cut-up vegetables

1 cup vegetable juice (pasteurized)

Grains & Cereals*

6 servings

Examples of one serving:

1 slice bread

1/2 cup cooked rice

1/2 cup cooked cereal

1/2 cup pasta

1 cup cold cereal

Dairy**

3 servings

Examples of one serving:

1 cup milk

1 cup yogurt

1-1/2 ounces natural cheese

2 ounces processed cheese

Protein***

5 to 5-1/2 servings

Examples of one serving:

1 egg

1 ounce of meat, poultry, or fish

1/2 cup cooked beans

1 tablespoon peanut butter

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 healthcare 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 healthcare provider to help you choose the best one for you. Important nutrients during pregnancy include:

  • Folic acid: Folic acid helps prevent certain problems in your baby. During pregnancy, you need to take 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day. It’s best to start taking this supplement one month before you start trying to get pregnant. You should continue to take it during your first trimester.

  • 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.

 

 

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