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Is It Safe to Diet While Pregnant?


As you well know, pregnancy is an important time for both you and for your baby. Few areas demonstrate this as significantly as the area of diet and nutrition. When you’re pregnant, your primary concern in terms of food needs to be taking in the right amount of nutrients that your baby needs and that your body needs. You need to worry less about losing or gaining weight while you’re pregnant.

Pregnancy isn’t the time to start a diet, and it’s not the time to lose weight. If you don’t gain weight during your pregnancy, your baby can be adversely affected. Weight gain is a normal, natural and necessary part of pregnancy.

On average, a slender woman should gain around 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy.  A woman who is underweight should gain more like 30 or 40 pounds.  For a woman that is overweight, it is still important to gain at least between 12 and 25 pounds during pregnancy.

To be sure, you don’t want to go the other direction and overeat. Your baby doesn’t need as many calories as you do, so you’re not “eating for two” in terms of volume but rather in terms of food quality and nutrition. You only need an extra 300 calories per day to keep your pregnancy going strong.

There are some foods you need to make sure you get enough of during pregnancy. You need to have at least three to five servings of fresh fruits and veggies each day. At least one of those servings should include a vegetable that’s dark orange in color. Two of those servings should be leafy green veggies. You’ll also want to have at least two servings of protein, but make sure to go with extra-lean meats.

You’ll also need eight glasses of water a day during pregnancy to keep from getting dehydrated.

Eating a balanced diet during pregnancy will help your baby grow, and it will help insure that you gain the right amount of weight during pregnancy, and that both you and your baby have what you need to see things through in a healthy fashion.

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Leila Pereira
I work in occupational therapy and occupational science. I specialize in early intervention pediatrics for children from birth to three years old; with an emphasis on children with autism. My goals are to support the achievement of developmental milestones in your child while collaborating with caregivers & parents; including play skill development, education, leisure, rest and sleep, feeding, nutrition and social participation. Licensed by the California Board of Occupational Therapy