What to Eat for a Healthy Pregnancy

a pregnant woman eating a salad to promote a healthy pregnancy

Nutrition is the foundation of a healthy lifestyle, but ensuring you consume the proper vitamins and nutrients becomes even more important during pregnancy. As your body changes during pregnancy, eating well is essential to promote a healthy pregnancy, delivery, and baby. There are certain guidelines when it comes to defining what to eat for a healthy pregnancy, including the nutrients to look for, which foods you should eat, and how many calories you should consume. If you’re not sure where to start, reach out to Triangle Physicians for Women. Our nutritionist, Maria Kennedy, can make personalized recommendations, healthy diet plans, and more. She also is an integral part of how we help our patients with gestational diabetes and can formulate plans on blood sugar control and provide dietary suggestions. At Triangle Physicians for Women, we provide comprehensive care for every stage of your pregnancy, and this includes guidance on nutrition during and after pregnancy.

What to Eat for a Healthy Pregnancy

You’ve probably heard the phrase “eating for two” when it comes to pregnancy, but the recommended caloric intake for expecting women is just an extra 340 calories per day. So instead of “eating for two,” the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends eating “twice as healthy.” This means being especially mindful of the food you consume and meeting the recommended vitamins and nutrients. Some of the most important vitamins to look for include:

Calcium

Calcium not only helps to promote strong bones and teeth in our own body, but it’s also essential in developing your baby’s bones as well. The best sources of calcium include dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt, as well as dark leafy greens.

Iron

Iron promotes healthy red blood cells, which deliver oxygen to your growing baby. Types of protein like lean red meats, poultry, and fish are packed with iron. Vegetarian alternative sources of iron are dried beans and peas.

Vitamin A, C, and D

Vitamin A, C, and D contribute to the healthy development of multiple systems within the fetus, including the healthy growth of bones and teeth, skin, and eyesight. The produce section is primarily where you’ll find foods packed with these necessary vitamins. Look for citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables, carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, strawberries, and tomatoes. While one of the best ways to get the recommended amount of vitamin D is by taking a long walk in the sunshine, you can also consume it through fatty fish such as salmon and sardines.

Vitamin B6

To help form red blood cells, turn to foods like whole-grain cereals, bananas, pork, and beef to consume the recommended amount of vitamin B6.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 helps maintain the healthy function of the nervous system and form red blood cells and is most commonly found in milk, meat, poultry, and fish. For expecting women who are vegetarian, it’s recommended that they consume vitamin B12 in a supplement form.

Folic Acid

You have probably heard of folate and folic acid in regards to pregnancy, and for a good reason. Folic acid is essential in preventing birth defects of the brain and spine in addition to the general development of the fetus and placenta. While prenatal vitamins contain folic acid, it is also present in fortified cereals, dark leafy greens, orange juice, and beans.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes occurs when pregnant women who have never previously had diabetes find themselves having elevated blood glucose levels during pregnancy. This takes place when the body is unable to make and use insulin. Insulin is needed to transform glucose into energy, so when the body is unable to access it, glucose (sugar) begins to build up in the blood. While the causes of gestational diabetes are still unknown, this condition makes healthy food choices even more important to keep blood sugar levels from getting too high. As a general rule of thumb, those with gestational diabetes should eat regularly to keep blood sugar levels consistent. It’s also important to speak with your doctor about how much weight you should gain during your pregnancy.

Nutrition After Childbirth

Maintaining good eating habits after childbirth is essential, especially while breastfeeding. If you adjusted your eating habits to consume the recommended amount of nutrients, sticking with this meal plan can help you lose excess weight gained during pregnancy as well as promote overall good health. If you’re having trouble getting on track after childbirth, one of the professionals at Triangle Physicians for Women can help.

Talk To An OB/GYN

The team at Triangle Physicians for Women is here for you in all stages of your life. If you have any questions regarding nutrition during pregnancy or gestational diabetes, please reach out. If you would like to schedule an appointment with Triangle Physicians for Women, you may do so by calling (919) 678-6900 or requesting an appointment electronically under the Contact Us tab.

Dr. Pearce was attentive, listened well, and provided a comfortable experience for me. My recent vaginal exams have been very uncomfortable and she provided a very comfortable exam this time.

Dr. Pearce was AMAZING! She answered all my questions and didn’t make me feel rushed. Best experience I’ve had at Triangle yet! She really put my worried first-time mom mind at ease.

I think Dr. Grana and her assistant (Mandy) are the best. I have been going to TP4W for years – at least 20, and I have never been disappointed with the level of care I have received. I can be a challenge as my level for pain tolerance is low and they put up with me! I can’t help but highly recommend the practice to anyone looking for exemplary women’s healthcare.

Love love love Dr. Grana and her crew. Love going to Holly Springs office. The girls are the best from Lisa at the front desk to all the girls in the back. Your music and atmosphere is great. Thanks for making these appointments fun!! Yes believe it or not, fun!!!

Dr V and the office staff were all very professional, understanding, caring and very efficient. I would be happy to recommend this practice to friends, family and associates. – Barbara M. Lucas

My visit was great! & my past visit have all been great.Kristy helped me even with me being a bit stressed & in a hurry because I had to be seen & my job is super strict. Her urgency to get me seen was phenomenal. I even got to see Heather, she’s awesome & amazing. She helped deliver my baby girl a year ago. My whole family loves her and Dr Sheshadri. We actually can’t wait to get pregnant again hahaha. Everyone treats you with respect and always makes sure your okay & answers whatever questions you have before you leave. Even leaving a message for the nurses,they get back to you so quickly.  This practice really makes you feel taken care of.  We appreciate you all!  – Erika Hooks

My experience with the TP4W staff has been top of the line.  They helped me through three pregnancies and coached me through every step of the way.  Eternally thankful I chose TP4W.  – Britney

TP4W have such amazing doctors, midwives and nurses.  I cannot say enough about Dr. Grana and the rest of the staff for all the help, advice, guidance and medical care they provided me with all of my kids.  She made me feel safe and calm through both c-sections.  My routine care and pregnancy care have always been top notch and I would recommend them to anyone looking for an OBGYN.  – Brooke

We were honored to receive a hand written note..

Dr. Grana, Angie, Jessica, Heather, April, Sarah and the rest of the staff –

Thank you all so much for taking such good care of me through both of my pregnancies and births, especially my latest one on 10/29! most of yall know how nervous I was from having gone through a lot (to say the least) with my first in 2016. You all made me feel so comfortable and at ease before, during and after. And going through a touch year with my dad, you guys always asked how he was doing at every appointment, which was so thoughtful and beyond your job description. I know that you all see many women go through what i did each and every day and deliver many babies and perform many c-sections. But I hope you know how special Ruby’s delivery was to me. You all have amazing jobs! I cannot thank you all enough. Merry Christmas!

Love, Lucy

I have been going to TP4W since 2010/11 and could not be happier.

The staff, nurses, midwives, and doctors are all amazing. I have 2 sons, both delivered via cesarean by Dr. V. Every visit and every provider did everything in their power to give me the birth experience I wanted, and also ensure that myself and my babies were safe and healthy. Dr. V even did everything in his power to help me avoid my first c-section and VBAC with the second, but that turned out to be out of his hands and he was the absolute best surgeon. With my two pregnancies, I experienced a few scares and some unusual circumstances that would be too long and too private to write in a review, but every single hurdle was handled with grace, honesty, and professionalism. I am so thankful for the recommendation from a friend to come to this office. I can’t imagine ever going to another practice.