The Basics of Nutrition and Pregnancy

It may seem obvious, but nutrition is one of the most important aspects to consider during pregnancy. Good nutrition and eating well will give you the strength you need to meet the heavy demands of your body while giving your baby what they need to develop. Women’s Care understands the intricate and detailed do’s and don’ts of pregnancy. This blog is here to help guide you through your pregnancy journey and to answer all your questions!

How much should I eat during pregnancy?

The popular quote that pregnant women “eat for two” no longer applies! It’s dangerous to eat double the usual amount of food during pregnancy, and quite frankly, you don’t need to increase your caloric intake until the second trimester.

  • If you are pregnant with one fetus, you need an extra 340 calories per day starting in the second trimester. Continue slowly increasing calories to 450 in the third trimester.
  • If you are pregnant with twins, you should consume about an extra 600 calories a day.
  • Women carrying triplets should consume an extra 900 calories a day.

What foods should I avoid during pregnancy?

For the nine-month period, ditch undercooked or raw fish, undercooked, raw and processed meat, raw eggs, organ meat, caffeine, raw sprouts, unwashed produce, unpasteurized milk products, fruit juice, alcohol and processed junk foods.

Some types of fish have higher levels of mercury. Mercury is a metal that has been linked to birth defects.

  • Do not eat bigeye tuna, king mackerel, marlin, orange roughy, shark, swordfish and tilefish.
  • Limit white (albacore) tuna to only 6 oz a week and make sure to check advisories about fish caught in local waters.

Should I take vitamins?

Vitamins and minerals perform hundreds of roles in our bodies. Eating healthy foods is one thing, but taking vitamins every day will supply you with all the essential nutrients you need during pregnancy!

  • During pregnancy, you need folic acid, iron, calcium, vitamin D, choline, omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins and vitamin C.
  • If you’re interested in prenatal vitamins, take one serving of your supplement each day. Consult with your obstetrician and/or gynecologist to consider the best option for you.
  • Do not take more than the recommended amount of your prenatal vitamin. Some multivitamin ingredients, such as vitamin A, may cause birth defects at higher doses.

How much weight should I expect to gain?

Weight gain depends on your health and body mass index (BMI) before you were pregnant. Consider this if you were underweight before pregnancy, you should gain more weight than a woman who had a normal weight before pregnancy. If you were overweight or obese before pregnancy, you should gain less weight.

  • During your first 12 weeks of pregnancy, you might gain 1 to 5 pounds or none.
  • If you were a healthy weight before pregnancy, you should gain a half-pound to 1 pound per week in your second and third trimesters.

There is very little that compares to the excitement and anticipation of what’s to come from a pregnancy. Taking care of your body and being aware of what you put in it is the best way to ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy. For more detailed information about pregnancy and nutrition from a trusted source, visit ACOG’s website.