Main menu


Pregnancy HealthHealthyPregnancyPageL

During pregnancy, a woman’s body experiences many physical and hormonal changes. It is especially important that she nourishes and cares for herself, and that she avoids harmful substances and stresses, which may cause harm to her and her baby.

Tips to Stay Healthy During Pregnancy



What should I eat during my pregnancy?


  • Eating a healthy diet during pregnancy is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your baby. After all, the food you eat is your baby's main source of nutrition. Smart choices about pregnancy nutrition can help you promote your baby's growth and development.
  • Every day you should be eating:
    • Fresh fruits and vegetables
    • Meat, poultry, fish, eggs and beans
    • Whole grain cereals, breads, whole wheat pastas, and brown rice
    • Dairy products like milk, yogurt and cheese
    • Healthy oils like olive and canola, or those found in foods with omega-3 fatty acids (salmon or herring). But ask your health care professional about eating fish during pregnancy.
    • It's OK to indulge once in a while — as long as you're getting the nutrients you need and your weight gain is on target. To avoid going overboard, control your portion sizes and choose foods that are low in fat and sugar.
    • Be careful not to overeat. You only need about 150 - 300 additional calories per day to nourish your baby; that is about a glass of skim milk and half a sandwich.
      back to top

How do I manage my weight during pregnancy?

  • Ask your caregiver, because this will be different for every woman. Based on your weight at the beginning of pregnancy and if you are carrying one baby, you should gain approximately:
    • Normal weight—25 to 35 pounds
    • Underweight—28 to 40 pounds
    • Overweight—15 to 25 pounds
      back to top

Should I exercise?

  • Regular exercise can help you cope with the physical changes of pregnancy and build stamina for the challenges ahead. If you haven't been exercising regularly, use pregnancy as your motivation to begin.
  • Before you begin an exercise program, make sure you have your health care provider's OK.
  • For most pregnant women, at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise is recommended on most, if not all, days of the week.
  • Walking is a great exercise for beginners. It provides moderate aerobic conditioning with minimal stress on your joints. Other good choices include swimming, low-impact aerobics and cycling on a stationary bike. Strength training is OK, too, as long as you avoid lifting very heavy weights.
    back to top

How will prenatal vitamins affect my body & my health?

  • A healthy diet is the best way to get the vitamins and minerals you need — but even if you eat a healthy diet, you might fall short on key nutrients. If you're pregnant or hoping to conceive, prenatal vitamins can help fill any gaps.
  • Prenatal vitamins typically contain more folic acid and iron than do standard adult multivitamins. Here's why:
    • Folic acid helps prevent neural tube defects. These defects are serious abnormalities of the brain and spinal cord.
    • Iron supports the baby's growth and development. Iron also helps prevent anemia, a condition in which blood lacks adequate healthy red blood cells.
  • Some women feel queasy after taking prenatal vitamins. If this happens to you, take your prenatal vitamin with a snack or before you go to bed at night.
  • In other cases, the iron in prenatal vitamins contributes to constipation. To prevent constipation:
    • Drink plenty of fluids
    • Include more fiber in your diet
    • Include physical activity in your daily routine, as long as you have your health care provider's OK
    • Ask your health care provider about using a stool softener
    • If these tips don't seem to help, ask your health care provider about other options. He or she might recommend another type of prenatal vitamin or separate folic acid, calcium with vitamin D, and iron supplements.
      back to top

Why is it more dangerous to smoke while I’m pregnant?

  • Smoking during pregnancy exposes a baby to carbon monoxide, which limits the baby's supply of oxygen and the delivery of nutrients. Exposure to nicotine also increases a baby's heart rate and reduces fetal breathing movements.
    back to top

What will happen if I drink alcohol while I’m pregnant?

  • The safest bet is to avoid alcohol entirely.
  • Consider the risks. Mothers who drink alcohol have a higher risk of miscarriage and stillbirth. Too much alcohol during pregnancy can result in fetal alcohol syndrome, which can cause facial deformities, heart problems, low birth weight and mental retardation. Even moderate drinking can impact your baby's brain development.
  • If you're concerned about alcohol you drank before you knew you were pregnant or you think you need help to stop drinking, consult your health care provider.
    back to top

How much sleep should I get while I’m pregnant?

  • Most adults require seven to eight hours of sleep each night.
  • Changes in a woman's body during early pregnancy can increase the need for sleep. Yet pregnancy symptoms, including nausea and vomiting, frequent urination, back pain, leg cramps, and heartburn, may make it difficult to sleep.
    back to top

Can I take regular medications while I’m pregnant?

  • Ask your health care provider about any regular medications you feel you need to be taking while pregnant.
    back to top


Citation: Mayo Clinic – Mayo foundation for Medical Education and Research.





A Woman's Friend Pregnancy Resource Clinic
961 Live Oak Blvd. • Yuba City, CA 95991

24-Hour Helpline: 530-741-0556
FB buttontwitterInstagram

Mobile Clinic Schedule