Healthy eating is one of the most important things you can do for your baby. Proper nutrition will nourish you and help your baby grow strong and healthy. Most pregnant women need to eat 1,800 to 2,200 calories a day. As a guide to healthy eating for everyone, the USDA’s “food-guide pyramid” recommends avoiding foods high in fat and sugar, and getting the following number of servings from the following types of food:
6-11 servings of bread, cereal, rice and/or pasta (1 serving = 1 slice bread, 1 ounce ready-to-eat cereal, 1/2 cup cooked cereal, rice or pasta)
3-5 servings of vegetables (1 serving = 1 cup raw, 1/2 cup cooked, 3/4 cup vegetable juice)
2-4 servings of fruit (1 serving = 1 medium size, 1/2 cup chopped cooked or canned, 3/4 cup fruit juice)
2-4 servings of milk, yogurt and/or cheese (1 serving = 1 cup milk or yogurt, 2 ounces cheese)
3-4 servings of protein from meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs and/or nuts (1 serving = 2-3 ounces cooked meat, poultry or fish, 1 egg, 1/2 cup cooked dry beans, 2 tablespoons peanut butter)
In addition, pregnant women should include an extra helping of a protein-rich food, as well as an extra serving of a calcium-rich food every day.
Although you may try hard to be “good” about your eating, it’s often difficult to give up all foods high in fat and/or sugar, such as ice cream, candy, potato chips, etc. If your weight gain is not excessive, and you are eating a well-balanced diet as described above, an occasional “treat” will not harm you or your baby.
How much weight should you gain?
On the average, the recommended total weight gain during pregnancy is from 25 to 35 pounds. However, not everyone is average, and you need to discuss with your doctor what will be best for you.
Because proper nutrition is so critical, Swedish provides nutritional counseling on an outpatient basis at the Nutrition Care Clinic 206-781-6228. Swedish also provides on-site service through the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) nutritional program. WIC is a free food and preventative health program for low-income pregnant and breastfeeding women, infants and young children. If you need extra help during this important time, please call 206-386-3WIC (206-386-3942) for income guidelines.
Foods to avoid
Pregnant women are about 20 times more likely to get listeriosis from food than women who aren’t pregnant. This can be dangerous to the fetus. The following foods should be avoided by pregnant women in order to reduce the risk of listeriosis:
Hot dogs, lunch meat and deli meats, unless reheated until steaming hot
Soft cheeses such as feta, Brie and Camembert; blue-veined cheeses; and Mexican-style cheeses such as “queso blanco fresco” (cream cheese, cottage cheese, mozzarella and pasteurized cheese spreads are fine)
Smoked seafood (such as smoked salmon) unless it is recooked
Pâté (even if refrigerated)
Raw milk or any other unpasteurized milk
Hear from two Swedish OBs and find out everything you need to know if you’re planning to get pregnant or just found out you already are!
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