Healthy Diet During Pregnancy

  • Medical Author:
    Erica Oberg, ND, MPH

    Dr. Erica Oberg, ND, MPH, received a BA in anthropology from the University of Colorado, her doctorate of naturopathic medicine (ND) from Bastyr University, and a masters of public health (MPH) in health services research from the University of Washington. She completed her residency at the Bastyr Center for Natural Health in ambulatory primary care and fellowship training at the Health Promotion Research Center at the University of Washington.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

View Stages of Pregnancy Slideshow Pictures

Iron Deficiency Symptoms

Because the signs and symptoms of iron deficiency can be very subtle, and some people have no recognizable symptoms at all. Even when symptoms of chronic, or long-term, iron deficiency are present, the symptoms are nonspecific and could be caused by a number of different problems. Characteristic symptoms of anemia are:

  • Pallor
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath

Quick GuidePregnancy Pictures Slideshow: What Not to Eat When Pregnant

Pregnancy Pictures Slideshow: What Not to Eat When Pregnant

Goal setting for eating healthy during pregnancy

Myths of pregnancy such as 'you need to eat twice as much because you're eating for two' or that indulging your cravings will give your baby birthmarks are outdated and inaccurate.From a scientific perspective, we know what the increased nutrient demands of pregnancy are, but the wisdom of the body also tells us pregnancy is a time to focus on nourishment. It is a time for the mother-to-be to focus on being as healthy as she can because that care will translate to her baby in utero, but also, establishing healthy habits now will set a positive example that will benefit the child over their entire lifetime.

The increased caloric needs during pregnancy are minimal; about 300 extra calories are needed each day. This is equivalent to three-quarters of a blueberry muffin or 2 apples or 2 ounces of chocolate milk. However, there are also a number of micronutrients or vitamins that are needed in increased amounts. The increased requirements are not just due to the growth of the fetus. The changes in metabolism of the mother also contribute to the increased nutritional needs. The goal of healthy eating during pregnancy is to maximize micronutrient density. In other worlds, make sure you are getting maximum nutrition out of every bite and that you avoid "empty" calories. It's also important to know what to stay away from - foods that have a higher risk of food-borne illness and foods that are toxic to a developing fetus such as alcohol, mercury-containing fish, and trans fats1. For many women, taking a prenatal multivitamin can be "insurance" against bad eating days, however, it is important to remember that supplements supplement the diet; they aren't replacements for healthy eating.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/28/2015

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