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Pregnancy Nutrition: Food Groups*

Your body will gain weight during your pregnancy! As you watch your weight begin to increase, take it as proof that your body is nurturing your growing baby. By the time you are ready to give birth, your total blood volume will have increased by as much as 60%.


Your breasts will have filled with milk. Your uterus will have grown to accommodate your baby and has filled with amniotic fluid. Your baby has grown to weigh 6 to 10 pounds (on average). To accomplish all of these productive changes, your body needs approximately 300 extra calories per day during your 2nd and 3rd trimester of pregnancy.


During pregnancy you may feel tired and nauseated most of the time ... however ... eating clean and obtaining high quality nutrition are key for the growth and development of your baby. Be mindful of your food choices! 


Every woman should discuss her individual nutritional needs with her health care provider. Do not neglect your baby’s health by neglecting your own!

 

Protein

Experts recommend 75 to 100 grams of protein per day.

Protein positively affects the growth of fetal tissue, including the brain. It also helps your breast and uterine tissue to grow during pregnancy, and it plays a role in your increasing blood supply.


Examples of daily sources of protein:

2-3 servings of meat (1 serving = approximately 3 ounces/size of a deck of cards)

  • fully cooked fish or seafood
  • liver
  • chicken
  • lean beef
  • lamb
  • pork
  • nuts (1 serving = approximately ⅓ cup)
  • tofu (1 serving = approximately ½ cup)

2-3 servings of legumes (1 serving = approximately ½ cup)

  • split peas
  • red and white kidney beans
  • black beans
  • navy beans
  • black-eyed peas
  • chick peas (garbanzo beans)

Calcium

The daily requirement of calcium is around 1000 milligrams during pregnancy.

Calcium helps your body regulate fluids, and it helps build your baby’s bones and tooth buds.


Examples of daily sources of calcium:

3-4 servings of dairy

  • milk (1 serving = 1 cup)
  • eggs (1 serving = 1 large egg)
  • yogurt (1 serving = 1 cup)
  • pasteurized cheese (1 serving = approximately 1.5 ounces or 4 playing dice stacked together)
  • tofu (1 serving = ½ cup)
  • white beans (1 serving = approximately ½ cup)
  • almonds (1 serving = approximately ⅓ cup)
  • salmon (1 serving = approximately 3 ounces)
  • turnip greens (1 serving = approximately 1 cup)
  • cabbage (1 serving = approximately 1 cup)

Iron

A daily intake of 27 milligrams is ideal during pregnancy.

In combination with sodium, potassium, and water, iron helps increase your blood volume and prevents anemia. It is important to take Vitamin C with Iron to increase its absorption.


Examples of daily sources of iron:

2-3 servings of green leafy vegetables (1 serving = approximately 1 cup)

  • collard
  • turnip
  • spinach
  • lettuce
  • cabbage

3 servings of whole grains (1 serving = approximately ½ cup or one slice)

  • bread
  • cornmeal
  • cereal
  • oatmeal

2-3 servings of lean protein (1 serving = approximately 3 ounces/size of a deck of cards)

  • beef
  • seafood
  • poultry

Folate/Folic Acid

Experts recommend 600 to 800 micrograms (.6 to .8 milligrams) daily.

Folic acid plays a key role in reducing the risk of neural tube defects, including spina bifida.


Examples of daily sources of folate:

2 servings of dark green leafy vegetables (1 serving = approximately 1 cup)

  • collard
  • turnip
  • spinach
  • lettuce
  • cabbage

2-3 servings of fruit (1 serving = approximately ½ cup)

  • orange
  • strawberry
  • lemon
  • mango
  • tomato
  • grapefruit
  • kiwi
  • melon

3 serving of whole grain (1 serving = approximately ½ cup or 1 slice)

  • bread
  • cornmeal
  • cereal
  • oatmeal

2 servings of legumes (1 serving = approximately ½ cup)

  • split peas
  • red and white kidney beans
  • black beans
  • navy beans
  • black-eyed peas
  • chick peas (garbanzo beans)

Vitamin C

Experts recommend at least 85 milligrams per day.

Fruits and vegetables rich in Vitamin C will promote wound healing, tooth and bone development, and metabolic processes.


Examples of daily sources of Vitamin C:

3 servings of fruit or vegetables (1 serving = approximately ½ cup)

  • orange
  • strawberry
  • lemon
  • mango
  • tomato
  • grapefruit
  • kiwi
  • melon
  • potato
  • peppers
 

My Favorite Prenatal Vitamins

If you become anemic during pregnancy, ask your doctor if s/he recommends supplementation in addition to your Prenatal Vitamin. Per the expert recommendations above,  eating a balanced diet will be healthful  for you and your developing baby.

 

My Favorite Postnatal Vitamins for Nursing Moms and Baby

 
 

"Babies! What a wonderful way to start people." Mary Engelbreit

 
*Please Note: This website is not meant to diagnose, treat or cure any medical condition. The information contained is educational. For actual medical care, see a licensed health care practitioner.