Nutrition and Exercise in Pregnancy

Nutrition During Pregnancy

Pregnant woman eating a salad

Creating your new diet can be an exciting time for you and your baby. This is your opportunity to develop eating habits that will not only contribute to your health, but also to the growth and development of your baby. Now, more than ever, it is essential that you consume the proper foods and vitamins every day.

To help make this dietary transition as simple as possible, we’ve outlined basic guidelines below. By following these dietary steps and the rule of moderation, you will help your baby enjoy a healthy future. If you have any questions, Christie Clinic has a registered dietician available for consultation at the request of your physician.

The Basic Pregnancy Diet

  • Calcium—four servings daily
    • Examples: low-fat milk, cheese, low-fat cottage cheese, low-fat yogurt, calcium-fortified orange juice, soymilk/protein
  • Calories—To calculate your caloric intake during pregnancy, multiply your weight by 15, then add 300. For instance, if you weighed 120 pounds, the calculation is: 120x 15=1,800 + 300=2,100 calories/day
  • Fats & high-fat foods—in moderation, no more than 30% of your caloric intake
  • Fluids—eight 8-ounce glasses daily
  • Fruits & veggies—two and three servings daily
    • Examples (two servings): apples, bananas, grapes, asparagus, green beans, potatoes
    • Examples (three servings): cantaloupe, peaches, broccoli, carrots, dark green lettuce
  • Iron—Most of the nutrients from your daily diet will help meet your iron requirements.
  • Prenatal vitamins—daily
  • Protein—three servings daily
    • Examples:  low-fat milk, cottage cheese, yogurt, eggs, chicken, turkey, lean beef
  • Vitamin C—three or more servings daily
    • Examples: grapefruit (juice), oranges (juice), collard greens, raw cabbage, tomatoes, broccoli
  • Whole grains & legumes—six to 11 servings daily
    • Examples: whole wheat, oats, corn, rye, barley, rice, peas, beans, peanuts

Safe Food Handling for a Healthy Pregnancy

Protect you and your baby from LISTERIOSIS

Pregnant women are more prone to get sick from listeria, harmful bacteria found in many foods. Listeria can lead to a disease called listeriosis, which can cause miscarriage, premature delivery, serious sickness, or the death of a newborn baby. If you’re pregnant, you need to make sure your foods are safe to eat.

Pregnant woman shopping for groceries

How can I keep my food safe?

  • To avoid listeria growth in your refrigerator and freezer, set the temperature to 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower and 0 degrees Fahrenheit or lower respectively. Check your refrigerator’s temperature using a refrigerator thermometer.
  • Clean up all refrigerator spills right away—especially juices from hot dog packages, seafood, raw meat, chicken, or turkey.
  • Clean your refrigerator’s inside walls and shelves with hot water and liquid soap, then rinse thoroughly.
  • Use precooked or ready-to-eat food as soon as you can. Don’t store it in the refrigerator too long.
  • Wash your hands after you touch hot dogs, raw meat, chicken, turkey, seafood, or meat juice.
  • Do not drink unpasteurized milk.

How will I know if I have listeria?

Unfortunately, the illness takes weeks to develop, so you may not know immediately. Early signs include fever, chills, muscle aches, diarrhea, and an upset stomach. At first, it may feel like the flu. Later on, you may have a stiff neck, headache, convulsions, or loss of balance.

What should I do if I think I have listeriosis?

If you have any of the above symptoms, call your doctor, nurse, or health clinic. Listeriosis can be treated effectively.

For more information about food safety, visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service web site at


General Exercises

If you have no contraindications, we recommend you continue to stay active. Walking and swimming are excellent exercises while pregnant. Avoid high-impact or jarring-type activities. Talk to your provider about what activities are best for you.

Kegel Exercises

Pregnant couple walking outsideDuring pregnancy, after childbirth, and as women get older the muscles of the pelvic floor that support the urinary bladder, uterus, and bowel relax. This relaxation can contribute to urinary incontinence. Fortunately, Kegel exercises can help strengthen these muscles, prevent future problems, and improve sexual pleasure.

The pubococcygeus, the muscle that controls the pelvic floor, is activated when urination is interrupted. As you urinate, decrease or stop the flow, and hold it for a short time without tightening your abdominal muscles. After your bladder is empty, contract the muscle for five to 10 seconds, and then relax it for five to 10 seconds.

You should practice this exercise regularly. Try doing Kegels five times every time you urinate. If you are incontinent when laughing, sneezing, or exercising, make sure to contract and hold your pelvic floor muscles. When you have the urge to urinate, do not run to the bathroom; this only increases the pressure. Instead, take deep breaths while contracting the pelvic floor muscles, and walk at a normal pace to the bathroom.

If you regularly urinate in small amounts, you may be able to prevent leakage. Begin by urinating every one to two hours, whether you feel like it or not. Then, increase the interval between voiding by 15 minutes every week until the desired interval is reached.

These exercises should become a habit and need to be practiced regularly for the rest of your life.

For more information, visit here: FAQs – Exercise During Pregnancy.