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Six tips for a healthy pregnancy

Pregnancy can be an exciting time, and it is the perfect time to focus on your nutrition – what you eat now affects both you and your baby! Pregnancy puts extra demands on your body and eating a variety of food will help you stay healthy and support your baby’s growth.

pregnant woman chopping fruitTake prenatal vitamins

During pregnancy, your body will require extra vitamins and minerals. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), you will need extra calcium, iron, folic acid, vitamin D, choline, omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins and vitamin C. These can be found in a wide variety of healthy foods, such as dairy, dark leafy greens, nuts, vegetables, fruit, fish and fortified whole grains.

Often, eating healthy during pregnancy can be difficult. Besides taking prenatal vitamins, you should visit with your OBGYN to see if you need to supplement your diet with additional vitamins or minerals

Eat nutrient-dense meals

Eating healthy during pregnancy can be difficult. But a well-balanced diet will help you and your baby get the nutrients you need to stay healthy. According to the MyPlate from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), a balanced diet consists of a few key food groups, which can vary from person to person depending on height, weight and other factors. Below are some general guidelines to follow – but talk to your doctor or OBGYN about what you should be eating.


Women should eat 1 1/2 to 2 cups of fruit each day. More than half of your fruit intake should come from whole fruits, rather than juices.


Women should eat 2-3 cups of vegetables every day. Vary your vegetables to include red, purple, orange, yellow, green and leafy cruciferous vegetables.


Women should eat about 5-6 1/2 ounces of protein each day. Focus on eating lean proteins, such as chicken and fish, as well as plant-based proteins from nuts, beans and soy products.


Women should eat 5-8 ounces of total grains a day, but more than half of those should come from whole grains. Whole grains include whole-wheat breads and pastas, oatmeal and brown rice.


Women should get about 3 cups of low or fat-free dairy products a day. This includes yogurt, milk and cheeses. Alternatively, you can choose lactose-free products or fortified soy milk and yogurt.

Focus on a healthy weight

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says it’s important to try to maintain a healthy weight during your pregnancy. Work with your OBGYN to determine how much weight gain is appropriate for you.

Avoid foodborne illness

A woman’s immune system constantly changes during pregnancy, which can put you at higher risk for foodborne illness. It is important to remember to practice food safety so that you do not get sick. By doing a few simple things, you can increase your chances of staying healthy.

Wash your hands often

It’s simple and basic, but it’s effective. Wash your hands before, during and after meal preparation, and after using the bathroom, changing diapers, touching garbage, blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing or handling pets. Use warm, soapy water and scrub for at least 20 seconds. This can lower bacterial counts by up to 90%. Finally, dry your hands with a clean towel.

Watch those temperatures

The easiest rule to remember about food temperatures is to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. That’s because bacteria grow quickly in mid-range temperatures.

Here are a few food-safety tips from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to help you stay healthy:

  • Keep the freezer at 0 F or below
  • Keep the refrigerator at 40 F or cooler
  • Refrigerate leftovers within two hours
  • Refrigerate leftovers within one hour if outdoor temperatures are above 90 F
  • Throw away perishable foods left at room temperature for too long
  • Store foods in small, shallow containers (2 inches deep or less)
  • Keep leftovers for three to four days or freeze promptly for later use
  • Cook food to their proper temperature
  • Keep raw and ready-to-eat foods separate

Skip high-risk foods

Foods that can normally be consumed without concern are riskier during pregnancy. Avoid raw or undercooked foods and meats (e.g., rare burgers and steak, runny egg yolks, sushi and oysters), swordfish, tilefish, king mackerel, shark, unpasteurized dairy products and raw sprouts. You should also stay away from deli meat and smoked refrigerated fish, unless they are heated until they are steaming.

Find a doctor

Whether you’re in the planning stages or already expecting, you can find a healthcare provider using our Find Care tool on our member website at and in the Blue Cross of Idaho member app. Make sure you’re logged in so that you see doctors in your network.

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Publish Date: August 23, 2023