More Articles on A Healthy Pregnancy

Thinking About Getting Pregnant?
Congratulations on Your Pregnancy! (for those who are newly pregnant)
What is a healthy pregnancy weight gain?
Can I continue to eat a vegetarian diet during pregnancy?
A Pregnancy Menu For You and Your Baby
Treating Nausea and Vomiting
What About Seafood?
Don't Eat That!
Pregnancy and Cholesterol
Wash Those Veggies!
Breastmilk, the Healthiest Diet for Babies
What DOES that Broccoli Do for My Baby?
Vitamin D Supplements in Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
New Research Affirms Individualized Vitamin D Supplementation for Pregnant Women
Breastfeeding: Developing a Future Gourmet
What to Do About The Flu
Gestational Diabetes
Decreasing the Risk of Gestation Diabetes
Keeping and Storing Breastmilk
Pregnancy Weight Gain Guidelines – Do We Need New Ones?
Breastfeeding: A Woman's Health Issue
Eating During Labor
Probiotics and a Decreased Risk of Gestational Diabetes
Pregnancy - a Time to be Active!
Clearing the Air : Quit Smoking for You and Your Child
What is a Healthy Pregnancy Diet for Obese Women?
Does Iron Intake Matter?
One Fish, Two Fish... Full Term Birth?
Folic acid in pregnancy and language development
A Mediterranean Diet, Pre-Pregnancy
There is No Substitute for a Healthy Diet
Honest Healthy Diets for Babies
Exercise for New Moms
A Healthy Pre-Pregnancy Diet and Gestational Diabetes
Vitamin D and Gestational Diabetes
Great News About Breastfeeding
Peanuts and Pregnancy
Fried Foods and Gestational Diabetes
Iodine supplements - should you take them?
Prevent Gestational Diabetes with a Mediterranean-style diet
FDA Updates Recommendations for Fish Consumption in Pregnancy

About Faith Bontrager, RN, BSN

Faith Bontrager, RN, BSNFaith's passion in nursing is to help people find the options they need to discover their personal path to optimum health. Ask her friends and they will tell you that their appreciation of nutritious food has grown through Faith. About Faith Bontrager, RN, BSN


A Healthy Pregnancy

Congratulations to you on your pregnancy!

Congratulations to your baby! Baby, you have a mother that is taking time to make sure that she and you are well nourished.

My first recommendation would be to find a doctor or midwife with whom you can comfortably talk and who makes nutrition a priority. Don't be afraid to call several offices and ask, "Dr Smith, how does your belief about nutrition affect your practice?" Your practitioner will have access to your blood and urine tests, can take a health history, and will do a physical exam. All of these will make a difference in recommendations that are specific to you and your current health.

Without knowing any of those things, here are some general guidelines.

First - Supplements. It is theoretically possible to get adequate nutrients without taking supplements. However, research shows that many of us do not eat an adequate diet. Most practitioners recommend supplements because of this and because of research that supplementation beyond levels of usual diets may be beneficial. Research indicates that women who take supplements have less incidence of babies with neural tube defects, less incidence of preeclampsia (a serious pregnancy complication), possibly less incidence of low birth weight babies, and their babies may initially grow slightly faster.

Second - Pregnancy diet. You are likely aware of the need for folate (folic acid) and its role in preventing neural tube defects (such as spina bifida). The current recommendation is 4mg/ day of supplementation as well as eating foods rich in folate (PDF document). We are not certain exactly how much folate (in food alone) is necessary to achieve this protective effect.

You will want to have adequate protein and calories (I will leave exact amounts to your practitioner based on your current weight and general health).The general rule is about 20% more protein than when you are not pregnant and enough calories to support correct weight gain based on your pre-pregnancy weight. Remember that protein isn't just meat but also includes eggs, nuts, legumes, and dairy. Eat folate rich foods daily. Eat vitamin C rich foods daily. Eat dark yellow vegetables at least four times weekly. Use whole grains (whole grain breads, oatmeal). Eat a varied diet. Include several glasses of water daily. Because your GI tract slows during pregnancy, you will want to be especially careful to have adequate water and fresh fruit to avoid becoming constipated as well as for the nutrients the fruit provides.

Most pregnant women do better with an increased number of small meals instead of eating large meals. Keep healthy snacks (fruit, nuts, whole grain crackers) close by and snack as desired. If you are having problems with "morning sickness" (very poorly named - it can occur anytime!), eating small amounts of food regularly will often help.

You will want to avoid alcohol, severely limit (or avoid) caffeine, be very cautious of undercooked foods or foods that may have sat out for awhile (such as deli meats and soft cheeses). While seafood can be great for you, avoid fish which may be high in mercury (such as swordfish, shark, and mackerel).

This will get you started down the right path! Check back with us for future pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding articles.