Pregnancy Nutrition

Eating a well balanced diet will nourish your baby and help you gain a healthy amount of weight during your pregnancy.

Your health care provider will talk with you about how much weight you should gain. They'll consider your health history as well as your body mass index (BMI) before pregnancy.

Depending on which category your pre-pregnancy BMI falls in, here are the ranges associated:

  • Underweight - Gain 28-40 pounds 
  • Normal weight - Gain 25-35 pounds 
  • Overweight - Gain 15-25 pounds 
  • Obese - Gain 11-20 pounds 

If you're expecting multiple babies, talk to your doctor about how much weight you should gain. 

Daily Nutrition Goals

It's important to choose foods from all the food groups. Follow these guidelines in your 2nd and 3rd trimester to give your body the nutrients and extra calories it needs.

7 Ounces of Grains a Day 

Half of your grains should be whole grains. You can get whole grains in whole grain cereals, whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, oatmeal, whole wheat tortillas, and brown rice.

One ounce equals:

  • 1 slice of bread
  • 1/2 cup cooked rice or pasta
  • 5 whole wheat crackers 

3 Cups of Vegetables a Day

Choose a variety of colorful fresh or cooked veggies such as:

  • broccoli
  • spinach
  • cauliflower
  • tomatoes
  • red peppers
  • carrots
  • sweet potatoes

6 to 8 Teaspoons of Fat a Day

Make wise choices about oils. Choose healthier fats such as those in nuts, fish, avocado, canola and olive oils. It's best to avoid fried foods. 

2 Cups of Fruit a Day

Try to eat whole fruits instead of fruit juices. One cup of fruit equals: 

  • 1  cup of fresh fruit
  • 8 strawberries
  • 1 cup fruit canned in its own juice or in light syrup 
  • 1 cup 100% juice
  • 1/2 cup dried fruit 
  • 1 large orange 
  • 1 small apple 

6 Ounces of Meat or Beans a Day

One ounce equals: 

  • 1 ounce lean meat, poultry, or fish (a quarter pound of hamburger = 4 - 5 ounces)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter 
  • 1/4 cup of cooked dry beans
  • 1/2 ounce nuts or seeds

3 Cups of Milk or Dairy a Day 

One cup equals: 

  • 1 cup of milk or yogurt
  • 1 1/2 ounces of natural cheese
  • 2 sticks of string cheese 
  • 2 ounces of processed cheese 

Note - If you cannot drink milk, choose other foods and drinks that have calcium.

The Plate Trick

One way to help you eat a balanced meal is to imagine dividing your plate in half. Cover half the plate with vegetables. Cover 1/4 of the plate with meat or beans and cover the other 1/4 with grains. 

Add a cup of milk and a serving of fruit and/or vegetables and you've got a balanced meal. Snack on fruit and/or veggies if you have a hard time eating them at meal times.