Everything you need to know to have a Healthy Diet during Pregnancy
Eating the right foods, and avoiding others, insures your baby is getting the necessary nutrients for growth and development.
As an expectant mother, you want to give your baby the best start. One of the best ways to do that is to eat a healthy diet.
Follow these guidelines to insure you’re giving your sweet baby all the nutrients and vitamins he/she needs while you’re pregnant.
What does a healthy diet during pregnancy actually consist of?
First, eat a variety of foods.
It’s important to eat foods that are:
- High in protein
- Low in fat
- Low in sugar (sugar = empty calories) or carbohydrates
- Good sources of calcium, iron, and folic acid.
Calcium supports the baby’s growth.
Iron is important for the baby’s blood supply.
And folic acid reduces the risk of spina bifida (incomplete closing of the spinal column), anencephaly (defect of the brain), and other birth defects. 
To eat a variety of foods, you need to include these foods in your diet:
- And Dairy
Second, eat the recommended amounts of each type of food.
- It’s recommended that adult women consume 1 ½ – 2 cups of fruit daily. During pregnancy, it is recommended women eat 3 – 4 servings per day.
- Click here to see a table on what constitutes a ‘cup’ of fruit.
- Fruit gives you many necessary vitamins, as well as, potassium and fiber. If possible, choose fresh, organic fruits.
- Eat plenty of vitamin C-rich foods, like citrus fruits, melons, and berries. It’s best to avoid juices that have high amounts of sugar or sweeteners added.
- Vegetables provide very important nutrients and vitamins for your baby, including good sources of vitamins A and C, folic acid, iron, and magnesium.
- During pregnancy, you should try to eat 4 – 5 servings of vegetables per day.
- Try to get at least 2 of those servings from green, leafy vegetables which provide excellent sources of folic acid (reducing the risk of spina bifida and other birth defects).
- Whole grains provide important nutrients for your health and your baby’s health such as iron, B Vitamins, and fiber.
- Women who are not pregnant are recommended to consume 3-6 ounces of grains per day. During pregnancy, 6 – 11 ounces of grains are recommended per day.
- At least half of all the grains you eat should be whole grains.
- Click here to see a chart showing what counts as an ounce.
- The reason I have this listed as meat/protein is because you can consume protein from other sources besides meat such as nuts, peanut butter, and many dairy products.
- During pregnancy, consume 3-5 servings per day.
- Food with protein provides good sources of B vitamins, protein, iron, and zinc.
- Protein is especially important during the 2nd and 3rd
- Eat 3 -4 servings (cups) per day.
- Dairy products provide protein, calcium, and phosphorus for your growing baby.
- Since your growing baby needs calcium (which can also be acquired from other sources besides dairy) your body will take calcium from your bones to support your baby’s needs if you don’t consume enough through your diet. So it’s important to get enough calcium in your diet.
- Click here to see a chart showing what counts as a cup in the dairy group.
Third, don’t overeat; you typically only need an extra 300 calories per day.
Even though you are growing a baby, you don’t need to ‘eat for two’ as the famous phrase says. Using it to justify eating twice the amount of food you normally eat is not going to keep you at a healthy weight.
In fact, the total amount of calories needed for most normal-weight pregnant women is:
- Approximately 1,800 calories per day during the first trimester
- Approximately 2,200 calories per day during the second trimester
- Approximately 2,400 calories per day during the third trimester
Fourth, use a highly rated prenatal vitamin.
The main sources of vitamins and minerals your growing baby needs should come from your healthy diet. A prenatal vitamin is intended to fill the gaps on what your healthy diet doesn’t always cover. So if you’re a little low on one nutrient, it will help fill that need.
Click here to see some of the highest quality prenatal vitamins. Here are the top 3, click on the picture to see more about them:
Fifth, there are things to avoid.
- Alcohol (obviously)
- High amounts of caffeine (no more than 200 mg/day)
- High amounts of sugar
- Raw meat
- Fish with mercury (shark, swordfish, king mackerel)
- Raw eggs
- Foods that often contain Listeria as it may cause miscarriage (deli meat – if you nook it in the microwave until it’s steaming, it is safe – some smoked seafood, soft cheese, unpasteurized milk, and pate.)
If you follow these guidelines, you’re doing your part to give your baby his/her best start to life.
Eating a healthy diet during pregnancy can help provide:
- Healthy weight gain
- A better chance of having a vaginal delivery
- Quicker healing after delivery
- A normal weight baby
Eating a healthy diet during pregnancy can help prevent:
- Gestational diabetes
- Anemia and infections in you
- An early birth of your baby
Unfortunately many people don’t eat the right foods during pregnancy. “Cravings” have become such a popular thing with pregnancy, that often times the cravings are more focused on than eating a complete healthy diet.
Not only will having a healthy diet during pregnancy help your baby develop and grow, but it’ll also help you feel better and stronger.
Here is a sample diet. You can click on blue text to see the recipe. You can also click on the “Pop-out” icon located at the top right corner to print it.
https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/patientinstructions/000584.htm  http://www.choosemyplate.gov/fruit