pregnant woman eating smYou're pregnant and ready to start “eating for two,” but what does that mean? Here's a hint – it isn't double portions of everything.

Maybe when your grandmother was pregnant she had a green light to gorge herself, but now “eating for two” means sensible, balanced meals that will keep you healthy and give your baby the best start.

In fact, “eating for two” isn't something that has to start right after the positive pregnancy test. Most women only need an extra 350 to 450 calories a day during the last six months of pregnancy and that's not much more food. Eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats are the best way to nourish you and your baby and provide these essential nutrients:

Folate and folic acid – This B vitamin helps prevent serious abnormalities of the brain and spinal cord, and folic acid has been shown to decrease the risk of preterm delivery. Fortified cereals are a great source of folic acid, and leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits, and dried beans and peas are good sources of naturally-occurring folate.

Calcium – This builds strong bones and teeth for you and your baby, and also helps your circulatory, muscular and nervous systems run normally. Dairy products are the most effective natural sources of calcium, and many fruit juices and breakfast cereals are fortified with calcium.

Vitamin D – This also helps build your baby's bones and teeth, and can be found naturally in eggs and fatty fish, such as salmon. You'll also find Vitamin D in fortified milk and orange juice.

What foods should you avoid?  Refined carbs in white bread, white rice, sweets and sugary drinks can spike your blood glucose levels. That may mean a fatter baby at greater risk of being overweight as they grow up.

Don't eat raw or undercooked meat, poultry, seafood or eggs to protect yourself and your baby from harmful bacteria such as E. coli, Salmonella and Listeria.  Use a thermometer to make sure your refrigerator temperature is below 40 degrees, which is cold enough to stop bacteria from growing.

A good goal when you're “eating for two” is to gain 2 to 4 pounds during the first trimester, and then 3 to 4 pounds per month for the second and third trimesters.  While you're adding healthy foods you should also eliminate tobacco and alcohol consumption. It's also a good idea to reduce or eliminate caffeinated beverages like soda or coffee during pregnancy.

“Eating for two” with healthy foods with good nutrients in the right portions can help you have a successful pregnancy and give your baby a great start to life.


Northline Women's Health Center Locations:

15675 Northline Road

Southgate, MI 48195

(734) 282-3600
(734) 282-3603 - Fax

23050 West Road, Suite 210

Brownstown Twp., MI 48183

(734) 362-7000
(734) 362-7077 - Fax