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Nutrition During Pregnancy

Overview

Your nutrition needs increase during pregnancy. Your body needs protein, carbohydrate, and fats for energy. Good sources of these nutrients include:

  • Lean protein. Examples include fish that are low in mercury, poultry without skin, low-fat milk products, and beans and peas (legumes). Fish that are low in mercury include shrimp, salmon, and catfish.
  • Carbohydrate from whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes (peas, beans, and lentils), and low-fat milk products.
  • Unsaturated fats like olive oil and canola oil, nuts, and fish.

Important vitamins and minerals during pregnancy include:

Calcium.

Calcium is found in dairy products and nonmilk sources such as tofu, broccoli, fortified orange juice or soy milk, and greens.

Folic acid.

Folic acid (or folate) is found in foods such as liver, vegetables (especially spinach, asparagus, and brussels sprouts), fruits (such as bananas and oranges), and beans and peas. Enriched products such as cereal, bread, pasta, and rice are also good sources.

Iron.

Iron is found in foods such as red meat, shellfish, poultry, eggs, nuts, beans, raisins, whole-grain bread, and leafy green vegetables.

Even if you have good eating habits, your doctor may suggest a multivitamin to make sure you get enough iron and folic acid.

Your daily calories needs

In the first trimester, you'll probably need the same amount of calories as you did before you were pregnant. In the second trimester, you'll likely need to eat about 340 extra calories a day. In the third trimester, you'll need about 450 extra calories a day.footnote 1

Talk to your doctor or a dietitian about your daily calorie needs. Your needs depend on your height, weight, and activity level.

Your calorie needs also depend on whether you are carrying one baby or more. If you're pregnant with one baby, you'll likely need 2,200 to 2,900 calories a day in the second and third trimesters. If you are pregnant with twins, triplets, or more, your calorie needs will increase.footnote 1

References

Citations

  1. Kaiser LL, Campbell CG (2014). Practice paper: Nutrition and lifestyle for a healthy pregnancy outcome. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 114(7): 1099-1103. http://www.eatrightpro.org/resource/practice/position-and-practice-papers/practice-papers/practice-paper-nutrition-and-lifestyle-for-a-healthy-pregnancy-outcome. Accessed November 16, 2017.

Credits

Current as of: September 8, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Sarah Marshall MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kirtly Jones MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology

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