Health Services


Important Nutrition Changes

  • Avoid alcohol—there are no safe amounts.
  • Limit artificial sweeteners to 2-3 servings per day (1 serving = 1 light yogurt, 1 12-ounce diet soda).
  • Limit caffeine to two servings per day, or less than 200 mg per day.
  • Avoid herbs and herbal products that have unknown side effects and can contain contaminants. 1 glass per day of chamomile and peppermint are safe.

Foodborne Illness

Listeria is a harmful bacterium. If mom is infected, baby can have health problems. Practice safe food handling—keep hot foods hot/cold foods cold, wash hands before/during/after food preparation, don’t eat expired, improperly stored, or obviously spoiled foods, and store food properly.
Helpful Tips
  • Don't eat hot dogs, luncheon meats, bologna, or other deli meat unless they are reheated until steaming hot.
  • Don't eat refrigerated pâté, meat spreads from a meat counter, or smoked seafood found in the refrigerated section of the store.
  • Don't drink unpasteurized (raw) milk.  Do not eat foods that have raw milk in them.
  • Don't eat salads made in the store such as ham salad, chicken salad, egg salad, tuna salad, or seafood salad.
  • Don't eat soft cheese such as Feta, queso blanco, queso fresco, Brie, Camembert cheeses, blue-veined cheeses, and Panela unless it is made with pasteurized milk. Make sure the label says, "Made with pasteurized milk."

Seafood (Fish and Shellfish)

Seafood can be part of a healthy diet for pregnant and breastfeeding women. There are beneficial amounts of DHA, protein, vitamins, minerals, and seafood is low in total/saturated fat.

Omega-3 fats (DHA) in seafood have important health benefits such as improved development of the nervous system/brain and retina. Benefits can outweigh concerns about chemicals that may also be in seafood. Seafood may contain unhealthy chemicals such as mercury. You can eat UP TO 12 oz of lower-mercury fish or shellfish each week.

Lower mercury content fish and shellfish include:
  • Salmon
  • Flounder
  • Tilapia
  • Trout
  • Pollock
  • Catfish
DO NOT EAT shark, swordfish, tilefish, and King mackerel. Canned Albacore tuna is higher in mercury than the “light” variety. Limit Albacore tuna to less than 6 ounces per week.
Seafood choices that are higher in omega-3 include:
  • Salmon
  • Herring
  • Mussels
  • Trout
  • Sardines
  • Pollock
You need 200-300 mg DHA during pregnancy. Aim to eat at least 8 and up to 12 ounces of cooked seafood each week.

Multivitamin Guidelines

  • 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid
  • 400 IU of vitamin D
  • 200 to 300 milligrams (mg) of calcium
  • 70 mg of vitamin C
  • 3 mg of thiamine
  • 2 mg of riboflavin
  • 20 mg of niacin
  • 6 mcg of vitamin B12
  • 10 mg of vitamin E
  • 15 mg of zinc
  • 17 mg of iron


Folate is especially important before conception and early in pregnancy. It can prevent some spinal birth defects. It is found in fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, and fortified grain foods.


Calcium can build strong bones and teeth in baby and mom. You need 1,200 mg every day. This can be 3-4 cups of milk per day. Other sources of calcium include soy milk, almond milk, yogurt, cheese, calcium fortified orange juice, and pudding. Try to pair calcium with sources of Vitamin D.


During pregnancy, your body is making more blood for you and for your baby. To make healthy blood, you need enough iron—without it, you may have anemia. Anemia can make you feel tired, dizzy or like you have no energy.

To ensure you get enough iron, take your prenatal vitamin every day—and take it at a separate time than your calcium, as taking them together may prevent your body from absorbing either one. Iron can prevent or manage anemia and ensure your blood stays healthy. Iron deficiency is the most common nutrient deficiency during pregnancy. Aim for 30 mg iron each day.

You should also choose iron-rich foods, like dark green vegetables, iron fortified cereals, and animal foods like chicken, beef, pork, fish, and eggs.  The iron in animal products is better absorbed than from plant foods. You can increase the amount of iron you absorb by eating the iron rich food along with a good source of vitamin C that is acidic—like a glass of citrus juice, citrus fruits, bell peppers, tomato sauce, kiwi, cauliflower, cantaloupe, greens, and berries!

Poor Nutrition

Poor nutrition can cause help manage constipation (with enough fluid). These meals also keep you satisfied and full. You need fruits, vegetables, whole grain bread, and cereals. Drink plenty of water to ensure extra fiber doesn’t make constipation worse!


Protein builds strong muscles, healthy organs, and healthy hair and nails. Protein rich foods include chicken, fish, beef, pork, eggs, cheese, milk, beans, nuts, grains, hummus, and soy products.


Fat provides energy, insulation and padding, and depresses gastric secretion. Types of Fat: Monounsaturated (MUFA- omega-3), Polyunsaturated (PUFA), saturated, and Trans. Sources include cooking oils, butter/margarine spreads, fish, nuts, nut spreads, meat, and dairy.

Super Foods

Super foods include:
  • Beef/pork: Rich in protein, B vitamins, iron, and choline—promotes brain development and prevents neural tube defects. Foods include chili, stew, stir-fry.
  • Berries: high in potassium, folate, fiber, fluid, carbohydrates, and vitamin C. Top a whole-grain cereal with berries, smoothies, pancakes, quick breads, or plain as a snack. 
  • Broccoli: provides folate, fiber, calcium, lutein, potassium. Add to stir-fry dishes and steamed.
  • Cheese: provides calcium, magnesium, vitamin B12, and protein. Eat as a snack with a piece of fruit.
  • Eggs: Good source of protein and all amino acids, choline, and lutein.
  • Legumes: High in fiber, protein, iron, folate, calcium, and zinc. Foods include chili, soups, salads, pasta dishes, hummus.
  • Milk/yogurt: excellent source of calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D, vitamin A, and protein. You can make smoothies and cereal.
  • Orange Juice: Vitamin C, potassium, folate, and it may be fortified with vitamin D.
  • Salmon: High in omega 3’s, vitamin D, and protein.  Limit to 12 ounces per week.
  • Sweet Potato: High in vitamin C, folate, fiber, and vitamin A.
  • Whole Grains: High in fiber and B vitamins.


Snacks can be very useful to make up for nutrients missed in meals, keep energy levels steady, and can help prevent nausea.

Snack suggestions:
  • Peanut butter with carrots, or apple slices
  • Yogurt
  • Cheese and crackers
  • Pita and hummus
  • Milk and a banana
  • A bowl of cereal w/milk
  • Dried fruit and/or nuts
  • Cottage cheese w/fruit
  • Fruit & yogurt smoothies

Healthy Weight Gain

Gaining weight is an important part of pregnancy. Women who don’t gain a healthy amount of weight can hurt their babies and their own bodies and have risks of a smaller, weaker baby, and early delivery. The recommended weight gain is based on pre-pregnancy BMI.
For a singleton:
  • Underweight (BMI <18.5):
    • 28 to 40 pounds 
  • Normal weight (BMI 18.5-24.9):
    • 25 to 35 pounds
  • Overweight (BMI 25.0-29.9):
    • 15 to 25 pounds
  • Obese (BMI >30):
    • 11 to 20 pounds
For twins:
  • Underweight (BMI <18.5):
    • No weight gain guidelines-insufficient data
  • Normal weight (BMI 18.5-24.9):
    • 37 to 57 pounds
  • Overweight (BMI 25.0-29.9):
    • 31 to 50 pounds
  • Obese (BMI >30):
    • 25 to 42 pounds

Weight Gain

The average amount of weight gained is 25 to 35 pounds total. You can expect to gain 2-5 pounds in the first trimester and about 1 pound per week for the rest of your pregnancy.

The weight that you gain during your pregnancy does more than just build a healthy baby.  Your body is making more blood and other body fluids, developing breast tissue, producing amniotic fluid and developing your uterus and the placenta. In addition, your body will store an extra 5-8 pounds of body fat, as a reservoir for future breastfeeding.

A woman who gains extra weight during her pregnancy (that is, more than the recommended amount) is gaining extra stored body fat—that is the biggest variable among women who gain different amounts of weight.

You will only need about 300 extra calories per day in the second and third trimester.

  • 1/2 bagel + 1 cup skim milk + 1 Tbsp. cream cheese
  • 1 banana + 1 cup Wheaties + 1 cup skim milk
  • 1 cup yogurt + 1 apple
Aim to have nutritional foods and listen to your body and how your food makes you feel.

Excess Weight Gain

Too much weight gain can be hard on your joints, make being active challenging, increase your risk for delivering too early, increase your risk for gestational diabetes and pregnancy-related high blood pressure, and make labor and delivery more difficult and dangerous.


Eat small, frequent meals such as 3 meals and 3 snacks. Don’t allow yourself to get overly hungry. Snack between meals and don’t skip meals. Stay away from triggers—strong smells, spicy foods, greasy foods—whatever bothers YOU. Get enough rest and stay hydrated.


Eat enough fiber (25-35 grams per day). Eat high-fiber foods like cereal, fruits, and vegetables. Ensure adequate hydration by drinking at least 80 ounces per day. Choose water and non-caffeinated drinks.


Don’t overfill your stomach, lie down right after eating, or drink too much liquid with meals. Avoid spicy or gas-forming foods, caffeine, and fatty, greasy foods.

Weight Loss

Weight loss is a good goal after baby is born. “Dieting” during pregnancy is unhealthy for both you and baby. Keeping weight gain healthy during pregnancy is important. Focus on healthy eating and adequate physical activity habits now!

Feeding Your Baby

Begin considering your options for feeding your baby.
Breastfeeding offers many benefits:
  • Strengthens baby’s immune system
  • Is inexpensive and convenient
  • Helps mom lose weight
  • Promotes bonding

Good Nutrition for Mom

Good nutrition helps give you energy and strength during pregnancy, and during labor and delivery. It can prevent you from losing your body’s nutrition to the baby. It can also help you gain the healthiest amount of weight—not too much, and not too little.

Sample Day of 1600 Calories


  • 1 cup whole-grain cereal
  • 1 cup 1% milk
  • Half of a medium banana


  • Half of a medium banana and 1 tsp of peanut butter


  • 2 ounces of skinless, chicken breast
  • 1 tsp reduced-calorie mayo 
  • 2 slices of whole grain bread
  • Handful of baby carrots
  • 8 ounces of 1% milk 


  • 1 slice of cheese with 1 mini bagel


  • Palm size chicken breast
  • ½ cup cooked rice with 1 tsp of margarine
  • 1 cup of cooked broccoli


  • 8 ounces of yogurt
  • 1 apple
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