Please click here to read our COVID-19 policies and resources before your visit or appointment. X
Jump to:  A   |   B   |   C   |   D   |   E   |   F   |   G   |   H   |   I   |   J   |   K   |   L   |   M   |   N   |   O   |   P   |   Q   |   R   |   S   |   T   |   U   |   V   |   W   |   X   |   Y

Healthy Eating While Pregnant or Breastfeeding

June 2021

Healthy Eating While Pregnant or Breastfeeding

You’ve likely heard that a pregnant woman is “eating for two.” Well, it’s true—and the same goes for moms who are breastfeeding their babies. Now, there’s national nutrition advice specific to these moms-to-be and new mothers.

For the first time, the 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans include recommendations for women who are pregnant or lactating. The guidelines reflect the fluctuating needs of a woman and her child during these significant life stages.

Extra calories and nutrients

While healthy eating looks similar before, during, and after pregnancy, women need more calories as their pregnancies advance and while breastfeeding. In general, the estimated daily calorie increases for women with healthy prepregnancy weights are:

  • First trimester: +0

  • Second trimester: +340

  • Third trimester: +452

  • Breastfeeding, first six months: +330

  • Breastfeeding, months seven to 12: +400

During this time, your body also requires extra nutrients to restore your own supply and support your baby’s development. Food sources are preferred, but your healthcare provider may advise you to take supplements containing folic acid, iron, iodine, or choline.

Talk with your provider about supplements, as well as your personal calorie and weight gain targets.

Foods to eat—and others to avoid

The best way to meet your nutritional needs is by eating foods that offer lots of vitamins and minerals, but little or no added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium. Bulk up on produce and whole grains. Protein should come from beans, nuts, lean meats, poultry, and certain seafoods. Opt for healthier oils—such as vegetable oils and those found in nuts—and fat-free or low-fat dairy products.

While there’s no need to avoid specific foods or beverages in hopes of avoiding future food allergies for your child, some substances can harm a developing fetus or breastfeeding baby. For example, alcohol and seafood that may be high in methylmercury.

Ask your provider what you should avoid or limit. Visit the Office on Women’s Health to learn more.

You have options

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans offer a flexible framework for healthy eating. You can adjust your choices to help manage your budget, preferences, traditions, and pregnancy-related symptoms, like nausea and vomiting.

But no matter what, always choose good nutrition. A balanced diet can help you and your little one enjoy better health now—and in the future.

 

Reviewed Date: 04-01-2021

This content was reviewed by Mid-Atlantic Womens Care, PLC. Please visit their site to find an Mid-Atlantic Womens Care obstetrician.

Helpful Information
Mid-Atlantic Womens's Care
Quizzes
Breastfeeding Quiz
NewsLetters
5 Common Diet Mistakes to Avoid
Cooking for One: Make It Healthier
Eating Healthy at 60 and Beyond
How to Ease into Plant-Based Eating
Meal Prep 101: How to Take Charge in the Kitchen
The Right Comfort Foods to Beat Stress
Why Counting Calories Doesn’t Work
Diseases & Conditions
Adding to Mother's Milk
Breast Milk Collection and Storage
Breast Milk Expression
Breastfeeding and Delayed Milk Production
Breastfeeding and Returning To Work
Breastfeeding at Work
Breastfeeding Difficulties - Baby
Breastfeeding Difficulties - Mother
Breastfeeding the High-Risk Newborn
Breastfeeding When Returning to Work
Breastfeeding Your Baby
Breastfeeding Your High-Risk Baby
Breastfeeding Your Premature Baby
Breastfeeding: Getting Started
Breastfeeding: Returning to Work
Breastmilk: Pumping, Collecting, Storing
Difficulty with Latching On or Sucking
Effective Sucking
Expressing Milk for Your High-Risk Baby
Expressing Your Milk - Helpful Equipment
Flat or Inverted Nipples
How Breastmilk Is Made
Low Milk Production
Managing Poor Weight Gain in Your Breastfed Baby
Maternal Nutrition and Breastfeeding
Maternity Leave
Milk Production and Your High-Risk Baby
Newborn Multiples
Overactive Let-Down
Plugged Milk Ducts
Sore Nipples
Storing Your Breastmilk
Surgery and the Breastfeeding Infant
Taking Care of Your Breast Pump and Collection Kit
Thawing Breast Milk
The Benefits of Mother's Own Milk
Using a Breast Pump
Your Baby and Breastfeeding
Your High-Risk Baby and Expressing Milk

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.