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Eat healthy

Eating healthy is important for everyone. A healthy diet helps protect against certain diseases and provides energy to the body. Poor nutrition during pregnancy can cause a baby to grow too slowly during pregnancy (growth retardation). Growth retardation can lead to premature (early) birth, fetal distress, or death. Dieting (or trying to lose weight) while you are pregnant is not recommended. Your doctor can talk to you about how much weight you should gain to keep you and your baby healthy.

Eat Healthy

Follow these daily guidelines for a healthy diet:

  • Include a variety of fruits and vegetables
    • New guidelines recommend you eat two cups of fruit and two and a half cups of vegetables a day
    • Serving sizes are small: a medium-sized piece of fresh fruit, a half cup of canned or frozen fruit or a half cup cooked, canned or raw vegetables
  • Limit the amount of fat you eat
    • Choose meats lower in fat
    • Cut down on or cut out fried foods
  • Get enough fiber
    • Whole grains (such as whole wheat bread, bran muffins, and oatmeal), beans, fruits and vegetables are good sources of fiber, vitamins, and minerals
    • Eat 20 to 30 grams of fiber a day
  • Include calcium in your diet every day.
    • Low-fat dairy products such as 1% milk, yogurt and low-fat cheeses are good choices

Pay particular attention to getting enough calcium, iron and folic acid. For more specific information, talk to your doctor or nurse, or ask them to refer you to a nutritionist in their practice or at the local health department.

Morning Sickness

Morning sickness is that sick-to-your-stomach feeling (nausea) that you get in the morning but may also feel time-to-time throughout the day. Morning sickness is often caused by changes in your hormones. The good news is that morning sickness is usually gone (or at least greatly reduced) by the 12th week of pregnancy (end of first trimester).

Some women have severe morning sickness. If you have constant or severe nausea or vomiting, call your healthcare provider at once. You may be at risk of dehydration.

Suggestions for mild morning sickness:
(adapted from "Planning for Pregnancy, Birth, and Beyond"
Opens in new windowACOG, 1995)

  • Keep dry toast, crackers or dry cereal next to your bed. Eat a little before getting up
  • Avoid sudden movements. Rest until the nausea passes.
  • Avoid greasy, fried and spicy foods, or any food that makes you feel nauseated
  • Eat five to six small meals a day instead of three big ones
  • Drink liquids between meals, not with them
  • Open windows or use a fan while cooking
  • Avoid strong food smells until nausea passes

Other Links

North Carolina

Opens in new windowWomen, Infants, and Children (WIC) - Provides food to low-income pregnant, post-partum and breastfeeding women, infants and children until the age of five. Call your Opens in new windowlocal county health department or the NC Family Health Resource Line at 1-800-367-2229 for more information.

Opens in new windowNorth Carolina Folic Acid Council Web site- Information on the importance of folic acid in English and in Spanish.


Opens in new windowMarch of Dimes - Information on Folic Acid

For more health information, search MedlinePlus

MedlinePlus Trusted Health Information for You

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Last updated: August 2014

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