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Eating for a Healthy Pregnancy


Eating for a healthy pregnancy can be overwhelming and confusing. Our guide will help you with your diet and nutrition during this most important time.

Food Basics for a Healthy Pregnancy

Are sandwiches with lunch meat safe or not? Do I need to take vitamins? What about raw vegetables?

In general, pregnant women shouldn’t eat too much junk food and should focus on eating chopped vegetables, fruits, and lean meats. This small change can improve energy levels, sleep, and their ability to tolerate the discomforts – even their skin is noticeably better. We know this is easier said than done, those cravings and hunger pangs are hard to ignore, so it’s key to have healthy snacks available so you make good choices. Your baby will love you for it!

Vitamins and Supplements During Pregnancy

There are a few vitamins and supplements that can help with a woman’s nutrition during pregnancy. Your provider will provide you with the recommended supplements and daily dosages based on your condition. Some vitamins your provider may suggest are:

  • Iron supplement – An over-the-counter daily iron supplement may be prescribed if you are anemic.
  • DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) – DHA is known for its ability to help with child development.
  • Vitamin D – Research suggest women who take high doses of vitamin D during pregnancy have a reduced risk of various complications such as gestational diabetes, preterm birth, and infection.
  • Prenatal vitamins containing folic acid – Folic acid helps strengthen and prevent birth defects of your baby’s brain and spinal cord.

Nutrition for Pregnancy

Grains – Make half of your grains whole grains: Eat at least 3 oz of whole grain cereals, breads, crackers, rice, or pasta every day. 1 oz of grains is equivalent 1 slice of bread and about 1 cup of breakfast cereal, cooked rice, or pasta. Aim to eat 6 oz of grain every day.

Vegetables – Eat more dark green veggies (broccoli, spinach, and other dark leafy greens), more orange vegetables (carrots and sweet potatoes), and more dry beans and peas (pinto beans, kidney beans, and lentils). Overall, try to vary your veggies and eat 2 cups every day.

Fruits – Also eat a variety of fruit. Fruit can be fresh, frozen, canned, or dried fruit. Eat 2 cups of fruit every day and avoid fruit juices. They are usually very high in sugar.

Dairy – Eat calcium-rich foods. Go low-fat or fat-free when you choose milk, yogurt, and other milk products to avoid a lot of fat intake. If you do not or cannot consume milk, choose lactose-free products or other calcium sources such as fortified foods and beverages. Eat or drink 3 cups every day.

Protein – Make sure to eat lean protein. Choose low-fat or lean meats and poultry that can be baked, broiled, or grilled. Also vary your protein routine by choosing more fish, beans, peas, nuts, and seeds. Fish is especially important in your diet, because it is high in the beneficial omega-3 fatty acids which help build your baby’s brain and decrease the risks of preterm birth and postpartum blues. Salmon is usually the best fish option. Some say tuna is okay but large fish swimming in the ocean have higher mercury concentrations, which are dangerous for your baby’s brain. (Federal guidelines are behind on this issue.) Aim to eat 5 oz of protein every day.

Hydration – Hydration is very important, even outside of pregnancy. The goal is to drink at least 80 oz of water per day, without additives.

Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists Can Help During Your Pregnancy

Eating for a healthy pregnancy can be confusing. Our OBs at Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists can help. Make an appointment online or call us at 770.720.7733.