The body is quite remarkable as it endures a significant transformation over the course of 40 weeks of pregnancy. Because of the many changes that take place during this time frame, it is important for the pregnant person to eat a balanced diet in order to obtain all the nutrients they need to nourish their growing baby. While some indulgence of sweets or cravings is expected, the American Pregnancy Association highlights guidelines to give people a clear range of what a healthy weight gain looks like in order to help them avoid pregnancy complications, such as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and cesarean delivery. The best advice is for the pregnant person to be intentional about what they eat. Below are a few nutrition guidelines pregnant people should consider following while pregnant:

  • Select vitamin-rich food
    Eating healthy foods, such as fruit, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains and low-fat dairy, helps provide the body with key nutrients, like calcium, folic acid and iron. Though taking a multi-vitamin is recommended, it’s also good to «eat your vitamins!» For information on foods rich in these nutrients, click here.
  • Weight gain is a good thing.
    Most people need to gain 11 to 40 pounds during pregnancy. Pregnancy is not the time to diet, but knowing how much to eat will help you throughout each stage.

    • First Trimester: Continue with the usual caloric intake during your first trimester. At this stage, your baby’s vital organs are starting to function.
    • Second Trimester: Begin increasing your caloric intake by 340 calories per day. During this trimester, your baby’s brain is growing quickly and taste buds are starting to develop.
    • Third Trimester: During this final stage, increase the daily intake again so that you are consuming 450 calories more than your usual intake when not pregnant. In this final trimester, the baby is growing stronger and preparing to live outside the womb.
  • Use foods to combat discomfort
    It is not uncommon for pregnant people to experience nausea, heartburn, diarrhea or other ailments during pregnancy. The body is rapidly changing and the growing baby affects all areas of the internal organs. During the challenging times, it is important they still eat the correct amount of nutritious calories they need. Below are tips to help combat these symptoms and stay on track.

    • Morning sickness: Though it may be difficult, try to eat crackers, cereal or pretzels before getting out of bed in the morning. Throughout the day, eat small, frequent meals.
    • Diarrhea: Eat foods that will help absorb excess water, such as applesauce, bananas, oatmeal and refined wheat bread.
    • Constipation: Increase intake of fresh fruit and vegetables. Also, drinking at least 6 to 8 glasses of water each day will help.
    • Heartburn: Eat small meals throughout the day and try to avoid spicy foods. Drinking a glass of milk before meals may help, as well.

Family Health Centers of San Diego (FHCSD) offers comprehensive prenatal services at clinics throughout San Diego! Our dedicated staff helps pregnant people, and their families, create a healthy and supportive environment for their growing baby. Call (619) 515-2300 to schedule an appointment with one of our providers. For more information on our Baby Basic Classes and other patient care support services, please visit our webpage.