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Nutrition in pregnancy


Congratulations, you're going to be having a baby! There are so many things to think about, to do and not do, it can be overwhelming. One of the things you will need to think about is nutrition. You're not just eating for two, you're being healthy for two.

Healthy eating is a key component to meeting the demands of pregnancy and your developing baby.

The website www.choosemyplate.gov can help you plan a healthy diet for you and your family during pregnancy. Food suggestions and amounts that you need to eat during pregnancy are included in this diet tracker. The amounts are based on pre-pregnancy weight, due date, and exercise schedule. My plate includes a table of daily food choices broken down into the five food groups. For example, It is recommended that a pregnant woman of normal weight eat 8 ounces of grains peer day in the third trimester.

Vitamins and minerals also play an important role during pregnancy. Dietary guidelines recommend that pregnant women also get at least 600 micrograms of folic acid daily from all sources. This helps to prevent brain and spinal birth defects. More iron is needed in pregnancy to make blood that supplies oxygen to the baby. The recommended dose is 27mg daily, which is found in most prenatal vitamins. Calcium and vitamins D are both used during pregnancy to aid in baby’s bone and teeth development. Women 19 years and older need 1000mg of calcium per day, including pregnancy. Those aged 14-18 need 1,300 mg daily. Milk and other dairy products like cheese and yogurt are the best sources of calcium.

All women including those that are pregnant need 600 IU (international unit) vitamin D per day. Good sources are milk and salmon.

How much weight should you gain in pregnancy?

Pre-PregnancyWeight         BMI                Weight Gain

Underweight                     less than 18.5           28-40lbs

Normal Weight                   18.5-24.9                25-35lbs

Overweight                        25.0-29.9                15-25lbs

Obese                              30 or more              11-20lbs

Overweight and obese women are at risk of several pregnancy problems, including birth defects, macrosomia (a baby born significantly larger than average) and childhood obesity.

Food Safety

It is extremely important to avoid food borne illness during pregnancy. Pregnant women are 13 times more likely to get listeriosis than the general population. This can cause mild, flu-like symptoms in the mother but can lead to serious complications for the baby, including miscarriage, still birth, and premature delivery.

To help prevent listeriosis, avoid the following foods: unpasteurized milk and soft cheeses, including feta, queso fresco, queso blanco, brie, Camembert, blue cheese, hot dogs and lunch meats (unless steaming hot when served). Refrigerated pate and meat spreads. Refrigerated smoked seafood. Make sure all foods are washed thoroughly. Avoid raw or under cooked meats, seafood, and eggs.

Always make sure you wash all of your fruits and vegetables under running water for about 30 seconds before eating. Wash them right before you are going to eat, as bacteria can grow if you wash and then wait to eat.

There are so many things to think about when you get pregnant, we hope that is information will answer some of the nutritional questions.

If you ever have any questions or concerns feel free to call us or ask at your next OB appointment. We are happy to help!

-Brooke Taylor, WHCNP