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Nutrition and Pregnancy

Recommendation for weight gain
Underweight women with a low weight gain during pregnancy appear to have an increased risk of having a low birth weight infant and preterm birth. On the other hand, obese women have an increased risk for having a large for gestational age infant, post term birth, and other pregnancy complications.

There is an increased risk of small for gestational age births in women who gain less than the recommended weight, based on pre-pregnancy weight. Women who exceed the weight gain recommendations double their risk of having a very large infant which increases the risk for C-section and birth trauma. It may also increase the risks of childhood obesity and makes weight loss more difficult after delivery.

Recommendation for weight gain during a single pregnancy are as follows:
Underweight women (BMI less than 18.5): 28-40 lb
Normal weight women (BMI 18.5-24.9): 25-35 lb
Overweight women (BMI 25-29.9): 15-25 lb
Obese women (BMI >30): 11-20 lb

Healthy diet
The first step toward healthy eating is to look at your daily diet. Having healthy snacks that you eat during the day is a good way to get the nutrients and extra calories that you need. Pregnant women need to eat an additional 100-300 calories per day, which is equivalent to a small snack such as half of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a glass of low fat milk.


Key nutrients during pregnancy

Nutrient Reason for Importance Sources
Calcium (1000 mg) Helps build strong bones and teeth Milk, Cheese, Yogurt, Sardines
Iron (27 mg) Helps create the red blood cells that deliver oxygen to the baby and also prevents fatigue Lean Red Meat, Dried Beans and Peas, Iron-Fortified Cereals
Vitamin A (770 mcg) Forms healthy skin, helps eyesight, helps with bone growth Carrots, Dark Leafy Greens, Sweet Potatoes
Vitamin C (85 mg) Promotes healthy gums, teeth, and bones. Helps your body absorb iron. Oranges, Melon and Strawberries
Vitamin B6 Helps form red blood cells, helps body use protein, fat and carbohydrates Beef, Liver, Pork, Ham, Whole Grain Cereals, Bananas
Vitamin B12 (2.6 mcg) Maintains nervous system, needed to form red blood cells Liver, Meat, Fish, Poultry, Milk (only found in animal foods, vegetarians should take a supplement)
Folate (600 mcg) Needed to produce blood and protein, helps some enzymes Green Leafy Vegetables, Liver, Orange Juice, Legumes and Nuts


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