Eating well for your health and baby's

Throughout pregnancy, you are your baby’s primary source of nutrition. Now, more than ever, you need to be smart about what you eat. Here are some important tips to keep in mind.


Vitamins are vital to your health and your baby’s health. As soon as you learn you are pregnant (or trying to get pregnant), we recommend taking an over-the-counter prenatal vitamin. These should contain extra folic acid, which is essential to a growing baby’s health. You’ll also need more protein, iron and calcium than you did before pregnancy.

Portion Control

Eating for two doesn’t mean eating twice as much. You only need about 300 extra calories a day during the last six months of pregnancy. Make those calories count! Choose fruits, vegetables, protein sources or complex carbohydrates. Nutrient-rich foods are a much better choice than empty-calorie sweets or snacks.

Weight Gain

Women will vary in how much weight they gain, as well as where on the body they gain it. Your doctor or midwife will monitor your weight gain closely and discuss any concerns as they arise. In general, we recommend adding weight gradually throughout pregnancy.

  • Two to four pounds total during the first trimester.
  • Three to four pounds per month for the second and third trimesters.

Food Safety

Due to a naturally weakened immune system, pregnant women and their growing babies are at higher risk for food borne illness, which could lead to serious health problems. Follow these tips to avoid illness caused by harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical contaminants.

  • Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water before and after handling food as well as when using the bathroom, changing diapers or handling pets. (Have someone else change the litter box.)
  • Rinse fruits and vegetables carefully under running water, and wash cutting boards, utensils and countertops with hot, soapy water.
  • Keep raw meats, poultry and seafood separate from ready-to-eat foods, and use a separate cutting board and a clean plate once food has been cooked.
  • Use a food thermometer to be sure meat, poultry and seafood are cooked thoroughly.
  • Refrigerate perishable foods promptly especially in summer heat.
  • Thaw meat in the refrigerator (not on the counter at room temperature) or defrost in the microwave before cooking.
  • Avoid unpasteurized milk, soft cheeses, luncheon deli meats and hot dogs (unless cooked to steaming hot), raw or undercooked eggs (including cookie dough) and sushi.
  • Avoid eating large fish such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish due to contaminants. Good seafood choices include shrimp, light canned tuna, and salmon.
  • Make sure your refrigerator temperature registers 40 degrees F or below, and the freezer registers at 0 degrees F.

Be sure to check with your health care provider immediately if you experience vomiting, diarrhea or flu-like symptoms such as headache, fever and body aches. 

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