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Nutrition and Pregnancy



Pregnancy and Foods


Taste and enjoyment can also come from other foods and beverages that are not part of the four food groups. Some of these foods are high in fat or calories or low in nutrients, so eat them in moderation. Examples include cakes, cookies and pastries, potato chips, chocolate bars and soda pop.


Caffeine may be harmful to your babyís development.
  • Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, chocolate, cola beverages, energy drinks and certain drugs.
  • Limit consumption of all caffeine-containing beverages to two Ė 8 oz. (250 mL) cups per day.
  • Drink nutritious beverages such as water, milk, or unsweetened 100% fruit or vegetable juice instead of caffeine containing beverages.
Herbal Teas and Herbs

Many herbal teas and herbs can act like harmful drugs and can affect your baby. The following herbal teas are considered safe in moderation (2 to 3 cups per day):
  • Citrus peel, ginger, lemon balm, linden flower and rosehip.
  • Drink hot water with lemon or lime juice, hot milk or hot apple juice as an alternative to herbal teas, regular tea or coffee.
Check with your doctor, or a dietitian before using any other herbal teas.

Artificial Sweeteners

The use of saccharin and cyclamate are not recommended in pregnancy. Moderate amounts of the artificial sweeteners aspartame, sucralose (Splenda), or acesulfame K potassium (Sunette) are considered safe during pregnancy. They may be present in beverages, table top sweeteners, baked products, desserts, spreads, salad dressings or gum.

Vegetarian Concerns

Well planned lacto-ovo vegetarian diets that include a wide variety of plant foods along with milk and eggs can meet the nutritional needs of pregnant women.
  • Vegetarian diets need to be well balanced to meet the needs for iron, zinc and vitamin B12.
  • Strict vegan diets consist only of plant foods. They can be low in calories, iron, zinc and vitamin B12, vitamin B6, calcium and vitamin D.
  • Talk with you doctor, registered dietitian or community nutritionist if you are eating poorly.
Vitamin and Mineral Supplements

Generally, foods are the ideal sources for vitamins and minerals because they are in the correct balance and are in a form absorbed best by the body. For the woman who is planning a pregnancy or is pregnant, supplements play an important supportive role in the health of a woman and her baby.
Take a daily supplement of 0.4 mg of folic acid (folate) as part of a multi-vitamin/multi-mineral supplement for several months before becoming pregnant and during the entire pregnancy.
Taking a larger amount of folic acid (folate) may be necessary if you have a family history of neural tube defects, diabetes or if you take anticonvulsants medication.
Read vitamin labels carefully. Taking quantities of vitamins and minerals in amounts greater than what your doctor has recommended may be harmful. Do not take a daily amount more than 10,000 I. U. (3.330 RE) of Vitamin A as it may cause birth defects in your baby.
If calcium supplements are recommended, avoid bone meal and dolomite. They may contain traces of lead. Look for calcium supplements containing calcium carbonate as they have the most calcium per weight. Take calcium pills between meals or at bedtime. Consider calcium with vitamin D if you donít drink milk.
Calcium supplements with vitamin D are also available in the form of caramels or soft chews. Each chew contains 500 mg calcium and 100-200 IU of vitamin D. They provide an alternative to calcium pills and can be taken with meals.
Your doctor may recommend an iron supplement of at least 30 mg elemental iron.
Talk with you doctor, registered dietitian or community nutritionist if you are eating poorly.

Water and Salt

You need plenty of fluids during your pregnancy to help carry nutrients and wastes in the blood and to help keep you cool.
  • Drink 8-12 glasses of fluid per day, including water, milk, juice, soup and excluding coffee, tea and cola beverages.
  • There is no need to cut back on salt even if your blood pressure is high.
  • If your water system has lead or copper pipes then run the tap water freely for two minutes in the morning to flush the minerals out.
  • To decrease the chance of bacterial contamination do not drink water from lakes, streams, and rivers unless you boil it for two minutes before drinking, brushing teeth or washing dishes.


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Nothing on this web site, in any way to be viewed as medical advice. All contents should be viewed as general information only.
All health care decisions should only be made with consultation from your physician.

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