Diet in Pregnancy

Overview

Eating regular, well-balanced meals is more important when you are pregnant than at any other time of your life. What you eat provides food for your baby as well as yourself

How many calories should I eat?

You need about 200 to 300 more food calories a day than when you were not pregnant. Most pregnant women need about 2200 to 2300 total calories each day.

How much weight should I gain?

We will suggest a range of weight that you should gain. This is generally based on your pre-pregnant weight. The usual recommended gain is about 20 to 35 pounds.

What foods do I need to eat?

You need more protein, vitamins, calcium, and iron when you are pregnant. These nutrients are important for both yours and the baby’s growth and development.

In addition to foods, you should have a good fluid intake. We recommend 6 to 8 glasses of water or other fluids, in addition to what you drink with meals. Fruit juices are quite high in calories, so you might want to limit your intake of these. Diet drinks sweetened with aspartane (NutraSweet), or sucralose (Splenda) are a good low calorie and safe alternative, but should not fully replace other more nutritious beverages such as milk.

Foods that are excellent sources of protein and vitamins are:

  • Beans and peas
  • Nuts
  • Peanut butter
  • Eggs
  • Meat
  • Poultry
  • Cheese, milk, and yogurt
  • Fish (but see below)

Good sources of calcium are: Cheese, Milk, Yogurt, Sardines, Salmon, Greens

Foods rich in iron are: Fortified cereals, Whole Grain Rice, Cream of Wheat, Dried fruit, Prunes, Green vegetables, Meats

Special Concerns

Caffeine: Moderate intake of caffeine, up to 2 caffeinated beverages a day, is acceptable.

Alcohol: We cannot say for sure what the safe limit for alcohol is, so you are best to avoid it.

Fish: Recent concerns have been raised about the mercury content in fish. Avoid eating shark, swordfish,
king mackerel, tuna steaks and tilefish. Limit canned tuna to one can a week of chunk light tuna. Chunk light has half the mercury of solid white tuna.