You begin making choices about feeding your baby long before your baby is born. Pregnancy provides you with the chance to think about the food you eat, how you will feed your baby, and the eating habits you want for your growing family.

Eating for Two

  • Expect to gain 25-35 pounds.
  • Practice good family mealtime habits, such as eating together with the TV off.
  • Tape the Food Guide Pyramid* to your refrigerator door and use it to guide your food choices.
  • Eat calcium-rich food such as dairy products, calcium-fortified orange juice, broccoli, and leafy green vegetables.
  • Eat iron-rich food such as meat, poultry, fish, liver, legumes, soybean products, dried fruits, and iron-fortified cereals.
  • Eat food rich in folic acid such as leafy green vegetables, fruits, milk, and folic acid-fortified cereals. Check with your doctor to be sure your folic acid intake is adequate.
  • Be faithful in taking the prenatal vitamin and mineral supplement your doctor recommends.
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco products.

Brain Fact

Daily folic acid intake of 600 micrograms throughout pregnancy decreases your baby’s chance of a birth defect involving the baby’s spine and nervous system.

Useful Info: Vitamins and Minerals

To absorb more iron from your diet: Eat iron-rich food at the same sitting with foods rich in vitamin C, such as orange juice, tomatoes and green peppers.

To absorb more iron from your iron supplement: Take the iron supplement between meals with orange juice or other juices rich in vitamin C or with water (not with milk, coffee, or tea).

To prevent interference with absorption of iron: Do not take your iron supplement at the same time you take supplementary calcium (in doses higher than 250 milligrams) or magnesium (in doses higher than 25 milligrams). Allow two hours between your iron supplement and supplements of these minerals.

Top Five Reasons to Breastfeed

  1. Human breast milk is the perfect food for human infants and is superior to all commercial formulas.
  2. Human breast milk composition changes from the beginning of the feeding to the end of the feeding, from feeding to feeding, and from day to day. The change in the composition of breast milk makes it possible to meet your baby’s changing nutritional needs.
  3. Breastfed babies have fewer infectious illnesses and fewer allergic problems in the first year of life.
  4. Nursing your baby is good for your health, too. Breastfeeding mothers recover more quickly from the pregnancy, have a faster return to pre-pregnancy weight, have a reduced risk of premenopausal breast cancer, and a reduced risk of cancer of the ovary.
  5. Breastfeeding is convenient and saves money. It saves you money since you don’t have to buy expensive infant formulas. It also reduces health care costs in general since breastfed babies are healthier than formula-fed babies.

Doctors Advise Against Breastfeeding if…

  • you have AIDS or any other disease that can be passed to your baby through your breast milk.
  • you take certain medications – antithyroid, anticancer – that pass into breast milk and could harm your baby.
  • you have a serious health problem such as kidney failure or heart disease.
  • you use drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, or methadone, or are a heavy user of alcohol.

Health Alert: No Alcohol, No Tobacco

If you are pregnant or think you could be pregnant, do not drink alcoholic drinks including beer and wine. If you are pregnant or think you could be pregnant and use tobacco products like cigarettes or chewing tobacco, stop! Your doctor can help you find a program to break the habit.

Alcohol use during pregnancy is the most frequent cause ofpreventable mental retardation in the United States.

Smoking during pregnancy can cause miscarriage, fetal death, premature birth, and low birth weight.