Eating healthfully, exercising and controlling your weight during pregnancy go a long way toward giving your baby a healthy start in life. The foods you eat help your baby develop and grow. By eating healthfully, you will provide your baby with the nutrients it needs to build its bones and organs. Exercising during pregnancy keeps you in good shape and ready to do the work of labor and delivery. Controlling your weight (not gaining too much weight but gaining enough) makes sure your developing baby is getting the nutrients it needs.
One study showed 95% of the women who had good-to-excellent diets delivered babies in good-to-excellent health. Only 8% of those women who ate poor diets (lots of junk food) had babies in good-to-excellent health. One of your main goals in pregnancy is to give birth to the healthiest baby you can. Your nutrition during pregnancy has a great effect on your baby's health. Exercise and weight control add to your overall health and thus to the health of your baby.
Some women get the false idea they can eat all they want during pregnancy. Don't fall into this trap! You don't want to gain more weight than your doctor recommends during pregnancy—it can make you uncomfortable and it is harder for you to lose the extra pounds after your baby is born.
Increase the number of calories you consume now you're pregnant. Most experts agree a normal-weight pregnant woman needs to increase her caloric intake by 300 to 800 calories a day. These extra calories are important for tissue growth in you and your baby. Your baby uses the energy from your calories to create and to store protein, fat and carbohydrates, and to provide energy for its own body processes. Expect some weight gain during your pregnancy—it's natural and normal.
Eat a variety of foods every day to supply you with the nutrients you need. You'll want to eat dairy products, protein foods, fruits and vegetables, and breads and cereals.