Healthy Eating during Pregnancy

With so much information on how food can affect
your health, it may seem confusing at times to know
what to eat.
Still, the relationship between diet and health is
very important. It is even more important during pregnancy since good nutrition
and safe food handling play a key role in the health of both the mother and baby.
As the title implies, this brochure provides information on healthful eating
during pregnancy. It will cover how to eat a balanced diet, eating a variety of
foods, healthy weight gain during pregnancy, and food safety concerns specific
to pregnant women.
What a Mother-to-Be Needs
Pregnant women have special dietary
needs. Eating a balanced diet before, dur-
ing, and after pregnancy is one part of
good health. This section of the brochure
describes key nutrients pregnant women
need, how much they need, and sources of
those nutrients. Certain foods should be
avoided during pregnancy because they
pose a food safety risk. These are discussed
later in this brochure.
During pregnancy, a woman’s calorie needs
increase by about 15 percent. Some women
are surprised to learn that “eating for two”
really only means eating an additional 300
calories per day. Three hundred calories
equals about 3 cups of non-fat milk or an
English muffin with one tablespoon of
peanut butter and a small banana.
Pregnant women should choose foods
and beverages that are “nutrient-dense,”
or rich in nutrients. Nutrient-dense foods
are packed with vitamins, minerals and
other nutrients, and have relatively few
calories. Choosing a variety of foods from
all five food groups (grains, vegetables,
fruits, dairy, and meat and beans) will help
to ensure that a woman gets the nutrition
she and her growing baby
need. However, there are a
few nutrient-dense foods
that pregnant women
should avoid due to food
safety concerns. is an
excellent resource for
specifics regarding the
amount of calories individ-
ual moms-to-be and new
moms should consume.
A Message
from the
American Academy
of Physician
Assistants (AAPA)
Physician assistants are
licensed health
professionals, and valued
members of a health
care team that includes
a supervising physician.
PAs deliver a broad range
of medical and surgical
services to diverse
populations. PAs can
diagnose and treat
illnesses, order and
interpret tests, and
prescribe in all 50 states,
District of Columbia, and
Guam. PAs also counsel
on preventive health care
and assist in surgery.
AAPA is the only national
organization to represent
the nation’s nearly
80,000 physician
assistants in all clinical
specialties. Founded in
1968, the Academy
works to promote
quality, cost-effective
health care, and the
professional and
personal growth of PAs.
For more information
about the Academy and
the PA profession, visit
AAPAs Web site,
August 2009
See page 10 for new, important food safety information.
Page 1/12
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