Pregnancy and Nutrition

In honor of National Nutrition Month, we sat down with our newest OB/GYN provider, Sam Skelton CNM, and asked a few questions of her about pregnancy and nutrition. We’ve compiled her information with some helpful charts and links to share with you.

So what are some common issues or misconceptions?

A big issue with pregnancy is the common misconception of ‘eating for two’, which is not recommended as this is generally going to cause a woman to have too much caloric intake. Sam notes that an expectant woman should be consuming around 300 extra calories per day in regard to her normal diet. A woman’s normal diet is going to depend on what her BMI (or Body Mass Index) was before she was pregnant.

Here is a chart showing the recommended weight gains for your body type:

BMI Before Pregnancy Pregnant with one baby Pregnant with twins
Underweight = <18.5 Gain 28-40 lbs Gain 50-62lbs
Normal Weight = 18.5-24.9 Gain 25-35 lbs Gain 37-54 lbs
Overweight = 25-29.9 Gain 15-25 lbs Gain 31-50 lbs
Obesity = 30 or greater Gain 11-20 lbs Gain 25-42 lbs

Sam notes that for her patients, she often says that a good way to think of weight gain (for normal BMI) is to break it down by trimester: 0-5 lbs for the 1st trimester, 5-10 lbs for the 2nd trimester, and 10-15 lbs for the 3rd trimester.

So what should women be focusing on for a healthy diet while pregnant?

Sam encourages a good intake of nutritionally dense foods, like raw fruits and veggies. She recommends also to take in Omega 3’s and fatty acids.  A good prenatal vitamin is greatly encouraged as well. Sam notes that one should watch where calories can come from and avoid drinking too many, and to decrease an intake of simple carbs (e.g., baked goods from white flour, sodas, packaged cereal).

A good list of other things to avoid would be:

  • Raw or under cooked fish
  • Raw, under cooked or processed meat
  • Hot dogs and luncheon/deli meat (unless steaming hot)
  • Raw eggs
  • Refrigerated paté and meat spreads
  • Refrigerated smoked seafood
  • Unwashed raw fruits or vegetables
  • Unpasteurized milk or soft cheese
  • Unpasteurized fruit juice

Getting proper nutrition can be challenging, and if you have any concerns about further issues such as gestational diabetes, Sam encourages talking with your provider and getting a possible consultation with our nutritionist, Carolyn Renner.

All in all, healthy food choices and good nutrition are important to the health of both mom and baby; gaining too much weight can affect the health of mom and baby in the short and long term, plus it can also affect such things as the mode of delivery (e.g., cesarean section delivery vs. natural birth). Our recommendations are for the best outcomes for both mom and baby, so that they may have a happy and healthy pregnancy and delivery.


If you want to learn some more about good nutrition while pregnant, please check out the following websites: