Nutrition During Pregnancy

JAMESTOWN, NEW YORK (May 1, 2017) -- Cornell Cooperative Extension Chautauqua County’s Expanded Food and Nutrition Program would like to share information on women’s nutritional needs during pregnancy.

When a woman becomes pregnant her need for more vitamins and minerals increase. Acquiring more vitamins and minerals means consuming more of the good stuff- fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Each food group has something to offer your body. Grains are a good source of energy. Fruits and vegetables are packed with antioxidants, fiber, and a variety of vitamins. Meats, nuts, and legumes provide your body with protein, folate, and iron. Dairy products are the best source of calcium and vitamin D- yogurt, cheese, milk. Remember, your goal is to eat a wide variety of foods during pregnancy. Making healthier choices for you and your growing baby also involves limiting foods with added sugars and saturated fat. Added sugars and saturated fat are found in foods like soft drinks, desserts, cheese, whole milk, fried foods, and fatty meat. Whenever possible, choose natural, low-fat foods over processed junk foods. Along with a healthy diet, doctors also recommend taking a prenatal supplement to ensure you and the baby are getting enough important nutrients like folic acid and iron. But don’t overdo it. Taking extra can be harmful to you and your baby.

Women who are pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant should not drink alcohol. Even moderate drinking can cause developmental and behavior problems for your baby. Heavy drinking can result in serious problems such as malformation and developmental delays.

Nutritional needs during pregnancy vary depending on height, weight, physical activity level, and stage of pregnancy or breastfeeding status. You should gain weight gradually during your pregnancy, with most of the weight gained in the last 3 months. Many doctors suggest women gain weight at the following rate:

  • 1 to 4 pounds total during the first 3 months (first trimester)
  • 2 to 4 pounds per month during the 4th to 9th months (second and third trimesters)
  • You should talk to your physician about specific needs during and after pregnancy to help you make a personalized decision.

    The EFNEP Program is one of many programs offered by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County (CCE-Chautauqua). CCE-Chautauqua is a subordinate governmental agency with an educational mission that operates under a form of organization and administration approved by Cornell University as agent for the State of New York. It is tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The association is part of the national cooperative extension system, an educational partnership between County, State, and Federal governments. As New York’s land grant university Cornell administers the system in this state. Each Cornell Cooperative Extension association is an independent employer that is governed by an elected Board of Directors with general oversight from Cornell. All associations work to meet the needs of the counties in which they are located as well as state and national goals. For more information, call 716-664-9502 or visit our website at Cornell University Cooperative Extension provides equal program and employment opportunities.


    Else Alonge
    Nutrition Educator

    Last updated May 1, 2017