Diet During Pregnancy

We recommend a weight gain of 25-35 pounds. If you are obese (more than 35% above ideal body weight), then we recommend a weight gain of 15-25 pounds. For most women, this translates to about 1/2 per week for the first 20 weeks, and then 1 pound per week for the rest of the pregnancy. To obtain the recommended gain, you need to eat about 300 extra calories per day. It is important to eat a healthy well balanced diet to gain optimum nutrition.

  • Protein: Protein is essential for growth of new cells and tissues in the baby and the mother. In America, most pregnant women actually consume too much protein which can result in excessive weight gain. Most women’s protein needs can be met with 5 ounces of meat and 3 cups of milk per day.
  • Vitamins: All of your vitamins and mineral needs can be met through a healthy well balanced diet except for iron and folic acid, thus it is recommended that you take your prescribed vitamin/mineral supplement daily.
  • Calcium: This is an important nutrient that is overlooked. If you do not get enough calcium from your diet, you will lose calcium from your bones and this may cause osteoporosis later in life. You need to drink your milk and/or eat other calcium rich foods such as cheese, yogurt, dark leafy vegetables, bony fish and tofu daily. If your diet does not include several servings of dairy products than you need to take a calcium supplement. Your prenatal vitamin does not provide sufficient calcium.
  • Salt: You may salt your food at the table or during cooking, but not both. If you eat fast food or processed foods, then do not use any salt. Do not follow a strict sodium restriction, unless prescribed by your doctor.
  • Artificial Sweeteners: Equal, Splenda or Nutrasweet are safe to use for most people. You may use two or three servings of these products per day.
  • Caffeine: You may drink up to 300mg of caffeine per day (2 cups [not mugs] of coffee per day).

TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF NUTRITION DURING PREGNANCY

  1. I should give up all soda and switch to natural juices.
  2. I need to eat at least 8-10 oz. of meat/poultry/protein per day.
  3. Avoiding salt will eliminate swollen feet.
  4. Salad bars provide an excellent source of fiber and will help with weight control.
  5. My body’s need for protein remains the same during pregnancy.
  6. My prenatal vitamin provides adequate amount of all the nutrients I need during pregnancy.
  7. It is safe for obese women to diet or lose weight during pregnancy.

The correct answer to all the above questions is false.