Nutrition

Eating a variety of nutritious foods from all of the food groups is important throughout pregnancy. In your third trimester, your baby puts on most of his weight, his bones harden, and his lungs and brain continue maturing in preparation for life outside the womb.

Dietary considerations:

  • Choose wholesome foods, and limit junk foods that don’t provide nutrients for you or your baby
  • Avoid weight-loss diets (talk to your healthcare provider if you are having trouble staying within your recommended weight gain)
  • Drink eight glasses of water each day—and don't wait until you feel thirsty to drink them!
play video Healthy Habits: Learn how to choose nutrient-dense foods, what "MyPlate" is all about, and the importance of good oral health during pregnancy.

Healthy Habits
view text Learn how to choose nutrient-dense foods, what "MyPlate" is all about, and the importance of good oral health during pregnancy.

Nhia: The biggest tip I have for eating healthy is take out the chips and the fattening foods and replace them with some fresh veggies and fruits. Maybe just a little bit of ranch …you know, I know I have to have my ranch!

(Narrator) Growing a healthy baby is all about choosing a variety of nutrient-dense foods, which are those that pack a lot of nutrition power into each calorie and are generally low in the “extras” like sugar, salt, chemicals, and saturated fat. You can think of these as pregnancy super foods! These foods should come from all of the different food groups to provide balance.

Katrina: When I'm at the grocery store I'm definitely reading labels a lot more often than I did before. I'm reading the labels to try to figure out the nutritional information, because right there I can see if there is folic acid, if there's enough calcium, Vitamin C, and I just try to make sure that I get a little bit of everything every time I go shopping.

(Narrator) At home, prepare a sensible portion size in the healthiest, freshest way possible—for instance, make grilled or baked chicken instead of fried chicken, or make a baked potato instead of French fries.

(Narrator) The USDA’s My Plate serves as a reminder of what food groups make up a balanced diet and how much of each group to include in your meals. If you go to their website, you can get a personalized pregnancy eating plan. But, if you have a special diet or any food restrictions, talk to a dietician to make sure that your meal plan is balanced and healthy.

(Narrator) Grains, especially whole grains, provide fiber and energy.

(Narrator) Vegetables provide a variety of vitamins and minerals.

(Narrator) Fruits, including juice and fresh or dried fruit, also provide a variety of vitamins and potassium.

(Narrator) Foods from the dairy group give you and your baby your essential calcium for healthy bones.

(Narrator) Finally, protein-rich foods, including lean meat, fish, beans, and tofu, help build all of your baby’s cells!

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(Narrator) Oily fish like salmon contains the important fatty acid DHA, which helps your baby’s brain and eye development. Try to vary the kinds of seafood you have since they provide different nutrients for you and your baby.

(Narrator) Take note: Caring for your gums and teeth is essential because it helps to prevent harmful infections that can affect your pregnancy health. So take care of your teeth by brushing at least twice each day with a soft-bristled brush, floss daily, and rinse your mouth with warm salt water to relieve tender gums that are common during pregnancy. Also, visit your dentist regularly—once every six months is recommended, even during pregnancy—and tell your dentist that you’re pregnant.

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Take Note

Foods to Avoidlearn how

Take Note

Foods to Avoid

Avoid foods that contain the dangerous listeria bacteria or high levels of mercury, including:

  • Unpasteurized milk and unpasteurized cheese
  • Cold meats, such as luncheon deli meats (unless cooked until steaming hot) and paté
  • Undercooked or raw meat, eggs, poultry, and seafood (including sushi that is not flash frozen)
  • Large fish, such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, or tilefish
  • Large amounts of small fish, such as canned light tuna and salmon (limit your intake to 12 oz/week)

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Partner Tip

Help Mom's Prenatal Dietlearn how

Partner Tip

Help Mom's Prenatal Diet

  • Stock the house with healthy foods that she likes
  • Cook her special meals (check online for quick recipes)
  • Pack healthy snacks for her when you're on the go
  • Bring her glasses of water
  • Follow a healthy diet right along with her

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Want More?

PDF

Daily Food Log and Tips: Keep a food log here for a week to assess your prenatal diet, and learn some quick healthy tips.

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