Health and Nutrition
The best way to help yourself have a healthy pregnancy is to eat well,
exercise regularly, get plenty of rest, and avoid things that could hurt your baby.
For more tips on how to have a healthy pregnancy, see Quick Tips: Healthy Pregnancy Habits.
- Try to get proper nutrition. Pay close attention to your folic acid, iron, and calcium
intake and the need for slow, gradual weight gain. Women who are obese have a different weight-gain goal than other women.
- A vegetarian diet requires special
attention so that you get enough
vitamin D, and zinc, in addition to the extra
folic acid, iron, and
calcium that all expectant mothers need. These
nutrients are vital to your fetus's cellular growth, brain and organ
development, and weight gain.
- Calcium is an important nutrient, especially during
pregnancy. If you can't or don't eat dairy products, you can get calcium in
your diet from
nonmilk sources such as tofu, broccoli, fortified
orange juice or soy milk, greens, and almonds.
For more information on eating well, see:
- Healthy Eating: Changing Your Eating Habits.
- Healthy Eating: Making Healthy Choices When You Shop.
- Healthy Eating: Cutting Unhealthy Fats From Your Diet.
- Quick Tips: Adding Fruits and Vegetables to Your Diet.
- Exercise during pregnancy can help your body best handle labor, delivery,
Moderate activity such as brisk walking or swimming is ideal
during pregnancy. Some women enjoy prenatal yoga. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after you are
active. This is very important when it's hot out.
- Fitness: Walking for Wellness
- Do pelvic floor (Kegel) exercises during and after pregnancy. They
strengthen your lower pelvic muscles. They may help prevent
urine control problems (incontinence) after childbirth.
- In addition to moderate exercise, the following stretching and
strengthening exercises are well suited to pregnancy:
What to avoid
- Medicines that are not approved by your doctor or midwife
- Alcohol and drugs
- Tobacco smoke
- Sources of food poisoning that may cause listeriosis
or toxoplasmosis infection, such as raw meat, poultry, or seafood;
unwashed fruits or vegetables; and cat feces or outdoor soil that cats commonly
- Fish that may contain mercury, such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel,
tilefish, more than
6 oz (0.2 kg) of white albacore
tuna per week, or fish caught in local waters that haven't tested as safe
- Hazardous chemicals, radiation, and certain cosmetic products
- Caffeine (Or limit your intake to 1 cup of coffee or
tea each day.)
- Hot tubs and saunas
- Unripe papaya because it may cause the
muscles of the uterus to contract.1
What's okay when you're pregnant
- Sex causes no problems during an uncomplicated
pregnancy, and sexual interest often changes during different phases of a
- Working or going to school, if it isn't too physically
demanding, is usually fine during pregnancy. Scale back if you're becoming too
worn down as your pregnancy progresses. Talk to your doctor or midwife if
you are at risk for
- Travel is usually a safe choice until later pregnancy.
Talk to your doctor or midwife if you have any concerns. During your third
trimester, it's best to stay within a few hours of a hospital, in case of
sudden changes that need medical attention.
- Wearing a seat belt is vital to protect yourself and your baby during pregnancy.
- Massage during pregnancy is safe when it is done by a
specially trained massage therapist.
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
July 23, 2012
©1995-2012, Healthwise, Incorporated, P.O. Box 1989, Boise, ID 83701.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
For more information,
How this information was developed.