Tips for pregnancy
- Talk to your health care provider about how much weight you should gain during your pregnancy.
- Eat foods rich in folate, iron, calcium, and protein, or get these nutrients through a prenatal supplement.
- Talk to your health care provider before taking any supplements.
- Eat breakfast every day.
- Eat high-fiber foods and drink plenty of water to avoid constipation.
- Avoid alcohol, raw fish, fish high in mercury, soft cheeses, and anything that is not food.
- Aim to do at least 30 minutes of moderate activity on most days of the week. Talk to your health care provider before you begin.
- After you deliver your baby, continue eating well. Return to a healthy weight gradually.
- Slowly get back to your routine of regular, moderate physical activity.
- Take pleasure in the miracles of pregnancy and birth.
What is a healthy eating plan for pregnancy?
A healthy eating plan contains a wide variety of foods from the five basic food groups.* Every day, you should try to eat:
- 6 or more servings of bread, cereal, rice, or pasta.
- One serving equals one slice of bread, 1 ounce of ready-to-eat cereal (about 1 cup of most cereals), or 1/2 cup of cooked cereal, rice, or pasta.
- If you are physically active, you can eat more servings (up to 11 servings if you are very active).
- 3 to 5 servings of vegetables.
- One serving equals 1 cup of raw leafy vegetables such as spinach or lettuce, or 1/2 cup of chopped vegetables, cooked or raw.
- 2 to 4 servings of fruit.
- One serving equals one medium piece of fruit like an apple, banana, or orange; 1/2 cup of chopped fresh, cooked, or canned fruit; 1/4 cup dried fruit; or 3/4 cup of 100-percent fruit juice.
- 2 servings of milk, yogurt, or cheese
- One serving equals 1 cup of milk or yogurt, 1 1/2 ounces of natural cheese like cheddar or mozzarella, or 2 ounces of processed cheese like American.
- If you are 18 years or younger and pregnant, you need at least 3 servings of milk, yogurt, and cheese.
- Choose low-fat or fat-free dairy products most often.
- 2 to 3 servings of meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, or nuts.
- One serving equals 2 to 3 ounces of cooked meat, poultry, or fish-about the size of a deck of cards. Choose lean cuts and eat no more than 5 to 7 ounces of meat, poultry, or fish a day. One cup of cooked beans such as kidney beans or 2 eggs count as a serving.
- Four tablespoons of peanut butter or 2/3 cup of nuts also equals a serving.
- At least 8 glasses of water.
- Drinking milk, 100-percent juice, seltzer or other non-alcoholic beverages counts toward your amount of daily water.
* Adapted from the U.S. Department of Agriculture/Department of Health and Human Services Food Guide Pyramid.
NIH Publication No. 02-5130
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