Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Pregnancy "Do's and Don'ts" Part One

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Today is the start of my 34th week of pregnancy! I am starting to get ready, nesting a little bit, and also dealing with some anxiety! I have learned a thing or two about nutrition for pregnancy that I didn’t know before, so here are some tips broken down in a simple “do's and don’ts” format.

DO
Eat for 1.15

You only need 300 more calories per day. It comes out to about 1.15 times more than your normal diet, depending on how much you were eating before. This is like having a few more bites at each meal. It doesn’t take much! That being said, I know that I was extremely hungry during my second trimester but now that I am winding down and much bigger, I am not as hungry and get full very quickly. Follow your appetite. Some days you will eat less than normal and some days it will be much more. You may eat the same as pre-pregnancy your first trimester, a lot more your second, and a varied amount during your third.

DON’T
Eat for 2

People will try to force food on you and affectionately say, “You can have it…you are eating for two!” Your friends and family mean well, and they are probably even jealous of the fact that you can eat more than you used to! Just remember, don’t use pregnancy as an excuse to gorge or to “get fat.” Any excess weight you gain while you are pregnant will have to come off or be accepted once that little one enters the world. Studies show that women who gain 30 pounds vs 80 pounds during pregnancy do not have significantly different birth weights of their babies.

DO
Make calories count
Your baby does not need extra sugar but rather vitamins, minerals, proteins, complex carbs, healthy fats, etc. Aim for 25 grams of protein more than pre-pregnancy and the rest of the calories can come from carbs and healthy fats.

DON’T
“Junk out”
Even if you don’t eat too many calories, what you choose could be low in nutritional value and is not contributing to the health of the baby. Think, "Does my baby need this chocolate candy bar or would a chocolate pudding made with real milk be a better choice?"

DO
Take your prenatal vitamin

If you suspect your prenatal vitamin is making you sick, at least take a regular multivitamin and an extra 400 mcg. of folic acid. If you have trouble remembering to take it, place it out somewhere obvious. Have it in sight next to something you do routinely every day like your toothbrush, keys, or purse. Also, I learned to take my prenatal vitamin with food in the evening and I didn't feel sick from it.

DON’T
Take other supplements or herbals without your doctor's blessing
You may think what you are taking is perfectly harmless, but you may not know of a little known side effect on your baby. Check with your doctor before taking even an extra iron pill!

I will have more tips on how to eat when pregnant tomorrow!

Photo of Tara at 31 weeks pregnant
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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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