Nutrition and exercise for you!

You don’t need te have a healthy diet and to exercise just because you’re pregnant. It should be your lifestyle.

But pregnancy could be a very good starting point.

So let’s see what eating healthy for a pregnant woman means.

During the first months of pregnancy, you won’t need a lot more food. Whereas by the end, you may need up to 400 extra calories. 

The recommended weight gain during the first 3 months of pregnancy is between 1 and 4 pounds, in total. Not so much, right?

From the 4th month until the 9th month, it ranges between 2 and 4 pounds per month ( 0.8 to 1 pound per week).

Below is a table summarizing the Institute Of Medicine (IOM) recommendation for total weight gain for pregnant women in relation to their BMI (Body mass index) :

Pre-pregnancy weight

Recommended total weight gain in pounds

Recommended total weight gain in kilograms

Low BMI (<18.5)



Normal BMI (18.5-24.9)



High BMI (25-29.9)



Highest BMI (≥30)



                                                              BMI= Weight (kg)/ [Height (m)] 2                                                        ATEP

 Here are some ways to a healthier diet:

  • Try to drink 2 quarts (around 2 liters) of water per day.

  • Make ½ your plate Vegetables and fruits

  • And make at least ½ of your grains whole.

  • Don’t forget to vary your protein food choices (meat, seafood, beans and peas, eggs…)


And below are some advice on what NOT to eat:

  • Avoid eating big fish ( as shark, swordfish, tilefish, king mackerel, tuna steaks). They might have high mercury levels (which may harm an unborn baby or young child’s developing nervous system)

  • Avoid raw or unpasteurized milk and cheese made from raw or unpasteurized milk (risk of listeriosis which can cause miscarriage, fetal death or illness or death of a newborn.).

  • Avoid raw meat, raw fish, raw shellfish, food containing raw eggs ( risk of infections that might harm the fetus or the newborn baby)

  • Avoid tobacco, alcohol and illegal drugs. For more details, please visit the link

And now, what about exercise?



Moderate daily exercise is safe for most pregnant women. If you have any medical concern, talk to your doctor before starting any type of exercise.

Exercise is very beneficial for you. It helps you stay fit, feel better, have less back pain  and tiredness. It also may prevent you from developing gestational diabetes or high blood pressure. It is a great way to prepare your body for labor. It might even lower your chance to having a c-section.

Walking, swimming and prenatal yoga are safe activities during pregnancy.



Try to do at least thirty minutes daily or most of the days of the week. However, remember not to overdo: you can sweat a little bit but you should still be able to talk while exercising.

You should stop exercising and call your doctor or midwife immediately if you:

  • have vaginal bleeding or discharge

  • can’t breathe normally

  • feel dizzy

  • have chest pain

  • calf pain

  • think that the baby is moving less than usual

  • or have contractions before 37 gestational weeks.

Fatma Safi



  2. Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn, by Simkin, Whalley, Keppler, Durham, & Bolding (2010)



  5. Maternity & Women’s Health Care, by Lowdermilk, Perry, Cashion, & Alden (2012)

  6. Prepared Childbirth-The family way by Amis and Green (2014)



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