• Healthy Diet During Pregnancy

    A healthy pregnancy diet plays an important role in your wellness and that of your baby. Eating well during your pregnancy will not only enhance your energy levels and feelings of well-being, but it’s also critical to the successful growth and development of a baby. Now that you are eating for two, you may be wondering, what exactly makes a healthy pregnancy diet? 

    When we refer to a healthy pregnancy diet, we are not talking about a calorie-restrictive diet, or one that is meant to help you lose weight. Dieting to lose weight during pregnancy is extremely unhealthy and can cause harm to both you and the baby. 

    What is a Healthy Pregnancy Diet?

    When we refer to a healthy pregnancy diet, we are not talking about a calorie-restrictive diet, or one that is meant to help you lose weight. Dieting to lose weight during pregnancy is extremely unhealthy and can cause harm to both you and the baby. 

    A healthy diet during pregnancy consists of enough of the right nutrients to support the healthy growth of your body and the baby’s. You want to aim to eat from a variety of food groups with plenty of protein daily and increase your daily caloric intake by about 300 calories (an additional snack per day should do it). 

    What Foods Should You Eat During Pregnancy?

    There are four major food groups you want to cover when considering a healthy pregnancy diet. Each one plays a significant role in meeting your body’s daily nutritional goals while pregnant.

    Fruit & Vegetables

    You should aim for 2 to 4 servings of fruit and 4 or more servings of vegetables.

    It is recommended that pregnant women get at least 70 mg of vitamin C daily, and 0.4 mg of folic acid is recommended daily in order to prevent neural defects. These nutrients are found in many fruits and vegetables. 

    Fruits such as oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, papaya, and honeydew, and vegetables like broccoli, tomatoes, cauliflower, and brussel sprouts are excellent sources of vitamin C. And dark leafy greens are a good source of folic acid.

    Dairy Products

    You should have at least 4 servings of dairy products daily, or the right substitutes in order to consume vital nutrients and vitamins.

    At least 1,000 mg of calcium is recommended daily during pregnancy. Calcium is widely known as essential to the development of strong, healthy teeth and bones, but it is also essential for normal blood clotting and muscle and nerve function. 

    What’s more, your developing baby needs calcium, and if you don’t consume enough of it in your diet, your body will take the calcium from your bones, putting yourself at increased risk for osteoporosis down the road. 

    Breads and Grains

    You should consume anywhere between 6 to 11 bread and grains food products daily, depending on your weight and dietary needs. 

    Don’t be afraid of carbs, but they are not all created equally! In fact, the body’s main source of energy during pregnancy comes from the essential carbohydrates found in bread and grains. They also provide other important nutrients like iron, B vitamins, and fiber. 

    Fortified breads and cereals can also help you meet your daily requirement of folic acid. 


    You should get in at least 3 servings of protein daily. 

    Your body needs B vitamins and iron during pregnancy. Iron helps carry oxygen throughout your body and to the baby. Oxygen is critical to muscle function and prevents symptoms like weakness, irritability, fatigue, and depression. 

    Poultry, eggs, and beans are excellent sources of protein. While fish and seafood can be a great choice during pregnancy, they should be limited. Some fish contain high levels of mercury, and consuming too much of it is not safe.  

    What to Avoid

    There is no safe amount of alcohol that can be consumed during pregnancy or when preparing to become pregnant.

    You want to avoid “high-risk” foods when you are pregnant, which includes any food that has a high chance of being contaminated by bacteria, such as:

    It may be difficult to kick your sugar habit when those cravings kick in, but a diet high in sugar during pregnancy has several risk factors, such as:

    Eating the right amount of nutrients during your pregnancy will prepare your body to grow a healthy baby and avoid complications like elevated blood sugars. You will feel better and experience fewer negative symptoms associated with pregnancy like nausea and vomiting. Most importantly, you will help ensure the proper growth and development of your baby.

    If you have questions or would like more information, please call our Wilmette or Glenview offices. If you have other pregnancy related questions, lease feel free to look through our obstetrics blog library. We add to it regularly.

    H. Jacob Saleh, M.D
    H. Jacob Saleh, M.D
    Pamela Goodwin, M.D.
    Pamela Goodwin, M.D.
    Kim Johnson, M.D.
    Kim Johnson, M.D.
    Jean Ruth, M.D.
    Jean Ruth, M.D.