Eating Healthy during Pregnancy

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Healthy eating in pregnancy is a crucial part of your pregnancy. You need to consume the right amounts and types of calories and foods to support yourself and your growing baby during the pregnancy. Benefits of eating proper nutrition will help to keep you healthy during pregnancy and can help promote your baby’s growth and development. Proper nutrition has also shown to decrease the chance your baby will have birth defects and chronic health problems throughout their lives.

Eating poorly during pregnancy can increase your chance of putting on too much weight. Putting on too much weight can lead to problems in your pregnancy, such as high blood pressure, which is not good for your baby. Additionally, when you put on extra weight, you run the risk of keeping on that weight after the baby is born.

During pregnancy, you want to avoid eating empty calories from food high in added sugars and fats and that add little nutritional value.

It is healthy to put on weight during pregnancy. How much weight to gain will depend on your current BMI. The chart below is a helpful guide on BMI Categories.

General Pregnancy Weight Gain Guidelines

Pre-pregnancy weightRecommended weight gain
Underweight (BMI under 18.5)28 to 40 lbs. (about 13 to 18 kg)
Normal weight (BMI 18.5 to 24.9)25 to 35 lbs. (about 11 to 16 kg)
Overweight (BMI 25 to 29.9)15 to 25 lbs. (about 7 to 11 kg)
Obesity (BMI 30 or more)11 to 20 lbs. (about 5 to 9 kg)
Source: Institute of Medicine and National Research Council

Pregnancy Weight Gain Guidelines for Carrying Twins or Multiples

Pre-pregnancy weightRecommended weight gain
Normal weight (BMI 18.5 to 24.9)37 to 54 lbs. (about 17 to 25 kg)
Overweight (BMI 25 to 29.9)31 to 50 lbs. (about 14 to 23 kg)
Obesity (BMI 30 or more)25 to 42 lbs. (about 11 to 19 kg)
Source: Institute of Medicine and National Research Council

It is important to eat a variety of foods so you get the most of different vitamins and nutrients. Remember the foods you eat also feeds your baby.

  • 3 servings of milk or dairy products.
  • 4 servings of vegetables.
  • 3 servings of fruit, fresh fruit is best. 
  • 9 servings of whole grain breads, cereals, rice, or pasta.
  • 2-3 servings of lean meat, fish, poultry, dried beans, eggs, or nuts.
  • 6-8 glasses of water.

When eating, try to include these foods when you are eating

  • 2-3 servings of iron rich food.
  • 1 serving of food rich in folic acid.
  • 1 serving of foods rich in vitamin C.

It is important to remember that there may be conditions when this changes, such in the case of a multiple pregnancy of twins and the caloric intake is somewhat more.


References and resources:


Kaiser, L., & Allen, L. H. (2008). Position of the American Dietetic Association: nutrition and lifestyle for a healthy pregnancy outcome.<a href=”https://pubag.nal.usda.gov/pubag/downloadPDF.xhtml?id=44440&content=PDF&#8221;

Journal of the American  Dietetic Association, 108(<a href=”https://pubag.nal.usda.gov/pubag/downloadPDF.xhtml?id=44440&content=PDF&#8221;

Pregnancy weight gain: What’s healthy? (2020, January 04). Retrieved October 31, 2020, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/pregnancy-weight-gain/art-20044360

The benefits of Vitamin D during your pregnancy.

Why you should take Iron during your pregnancy.