Nutrition and Food Handling

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