Eat healthy in pregnancy


Raising a healthy child starts early. In fact, it starts even before you meet this new person. Follow the top 10 tips below to help your baby grow healthily during your pregnancy.


1. You’re not truly “eating for two”

The fact is, at three months pregnant, the second person you’re eating for is only about three inches long. Your baby doesn’t need many calories. Even in the last three months, you only need to eat an extra 200 calories per day to meet your baby’s needs. That’s about the same as two apples.

2. Know how much weight to put on

Always ask your doctor. But here’s a guide based on your weight before you got pregnant:

  • Healthy weight before pregnancy: 25–35 pounds
  • Underweight before pregnancy: 28–40 pounds
  • Overweight before pregnancy: 15–25 pounds"

3. Know how fast you should gain weight

Talk about this with your doctor each time you’re in the office. But here are some guidelines:

  • Healthy weight: Two to three pounds in the first three months. Then, about a pound per week for the last six months.
  • Underweight: Five to six pounds (or more depending on how underweight) for the first three months. Then. a pound per week for the last six months.
  • Overweight: One to two pounds for the first three months. Then, less than a pound per week for the last six months.

4. Stick to the basics

It’s not hard to eat healthy. Focus on getting as many fruits and vegetables as you can. Aim for five or more servings per day. Got a craving? Fruits and veggies are nature’s perfect snack food.

5. Stay away from sugar

Most Americans eat and drink too much sugar. Treat yourself every so often, but not every day. You may think you’re eating healthy by choosing “natural” types of sugar, like sugar-in-the-raw or agave nectar. But all sugars have the same number of calories.

6. Eat whole grains

To your body, foods like white bread, white pasta and white rice are just like sugar. Choose whole-grain or multigrain foods instead. They’re high in fiber, too.

7. Choose lean meats

Chicken and turkey have less fat than beef and pork. Most types of fish are okay to eat during pregnancy, but limit yourself to two or three servings per week. Visit www.epa.gov for a list of fish that are low in mercury. Also try other types of protein, like tofu, eggs, beans, nuts, nut butters and high-protein grains, like quinoa.  

8. Take your prenatal vitamins

Folic acid is a type of vitamin B. It’s important for preventing a number of problems and birth defects, including spina bifida. But it takes time for folic acid levels to build up in your system. The earlier you start taking it the better. If you plan on getting pregnant, start taking your vitamins right away.

9. Get regular exercise

Staying active is good for you and your baby. You can walk, swim or bike. Look into exercise classes for pregnant women too. But talk to your doctor before starting any exercise program.

10. Choose carefully how to feed your baby

You can only give healthy nutrients to your baby if you eat healthy foods yourself. When you're pregnant it's even more important to eat right. Choose foods that are high in nutrients instead of junk foods. It’s good for you and your baby. You’ll start being a good role model before your baby is even born.