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Pregnancy Tips

Eating well can help you have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy newborn. Being physically active may help you have a more comfortable 9 months and an easier delivery. Use the ideas and tips in this booklet to improve your eating plan and become more physically active before, during, and after your pregnancy. Make changes now, and be a healthy example for your family for a lifetime.

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.

HEALTHY EATING
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
September 2002

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