Nutrition In Pregnancy

During pregnancy, a balanced diet is important for both you and your growing baby. If you have not eaten a healthy diet before pregnancy, now is the best time to start. Your physician and nutritionist will be able to help you get started and continue the process throughout your pregnancy.

Intake of Folic Acid and Iron during pregnancy is extremely important. Your prenatal vitamins have the recommended amounts of Folic Acid and Iron in them.

Folic Acid Recommendation: 1,000 mcg each day for one month before pregnancy and throughout your pregnancy.

DAILY FOOD SERVINGS (Based on a typical 2,000 calories per day ~ reference diet; your needs may be higher or lower; consult with a Registered Dietitian):
Food Group Amount Needed Serving Examples

GRAINS 6 ounces 1 slice of bread; 1 cup of cereal;
½ cup cooked rice, pasta or cereal

VEGETABLES 2-1/2 cups 1 cup of vegetables or veggie juice;
2 cups of leafy green vegetables

FRUIT 2 cups 1 cup of fruit or 100% fruit juice;
½ cup of dried fruit

MEAT AND BEANS 5-1/2 ounces 1 ounce of meat, poultry or fish;
¼ cup of cooked dry beans; 1 egg;
1 tablespoon of peanut butter;
½ ounce nuts/seeds

MILK 3 cups 1 cup of milk or yogurt; 1-1/2 ounces
of natural cheese; 2 ounces of processed cheese
It is better to eat many small meals throughout the day and snack in between. This will also help lessen nausea.


Alcohol (beer, wine and/or mixed drinks)
Illegal drugs
Raw meat
Unpasteurized cheeses/milk
High mercury seafood (shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish and albacore tuna)
Retin A prescriptions


Underweight 25 – 40 pounds
Normal weight 25 – 35 pounds
Overweight 15 – 25 pounds
Obese 15 – 20 pounds
Twin Pregnancy 35 – 45 pounds


Vegetarian Diet:
Be sure you are getting enough protein. Supplementation is necessary, especially Iron, B12 and Vitamin D.

Lactose Intolerance:
Symptoms usually improve with pregnancy. However, if symptoms persist, calcium supplements will be recommended, as well as other calcium rich foods, such as sardines, salmon, spinach and orange juice.

AVOID eating shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tile fish and albacore tuna. However, you MAY eat canned chunk light tuna. Other types of fish are fine in limited amounts. You can eat up to 12 ounces (2 to 3 meals) of these types of fish or shellfish per week.

Caused by bacteria from unpasteurized milk, soft cheese and prepared/uncooked meats, poultry and shellfish, hot dogs and some deli meats. Symptoms include fever, chills, muscle aches and back pain. If these symptoms occur, please contact your physician. A culture and/or blood test can be performed to test for the illness. Listeriosis is treated with antibiotics. Be sure to wash all of your vegetables and fruits prior to ingestion.

PICA is a strong urge to eat non-food items, such as clay, ice, laundry starch or cornstarch. If these urges occur, please contact your physician.

Peggy Tsevis, MPH, RD, LD
Registered Dietitian

We provide nutrition counseling for:
Pregnancy Nutrition
Gestational Diabetes
Post Partum Weight Loss
Nutrition While Nursing

Palatine (Monday): 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Woodfield (Tuesday): 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

30 and 60 Minute Appointments
To schedule, please speak to a Receptionist.
All first trimester OB patients should schedule an appointment with our Registered Dietitian.

Topics that are covered include:

  • Tips to reduce nausea/vomiting
  • Increased nutrient needs for pregnancy
  • Increased calorie needs and recommended weight gain
  • Control weight gain and optimize baby’s growth
  • Discussion of prenatal vitamins
  • Guidelines for exercise and nutritional requirements
  • Common digestive complaints in pregnancy
  • Recommendations for caffeine intake, sweeteners, seafood, etc.
  • Foods to avoid
  • Promotion of breastfeeding and increased calorie/fluid needs