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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

Healthy Pregnancy Tips For The Mom-to-Be

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What should you eat when you’re pregnant? What are all of the things you should be thinking about for a healthy pregnancy? If you are pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant, this post is for you! In it, you will find healthy pregnancy tips including what to eat, what to think about, and the best prenatal vitamins to take!

healthy pregnancy tips - image of a pregnant woman at the doctors office
(Note: These are tips that worked for me personally when I was pregnant, and that I also validated with my doctor. If you are pregnant, you should talk to your doctor and modify these guidelines based on what he/she advises – as every pregnancy is different! These tips are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never disregard or delay in seeking professional medical advice because of something you read here!”)

What Should I Eat For A Healthy Pregnancy?

Healthy Pregnancy Tips: Nutrition

#1 | You need ~300 calories more per day than you were eating before you got pregnant. That’s actually not a lot more! The whole “eating for two” thing is kind of a myth — you don’t need double the amount of food now that you’re pregnant.

Spend those 300 calories wisely! Some ideas include:

#2 | You need ~60g protein a day. It is totally possible to get this much protein even if you’re vegetarian (like me). 

The best vegetarian sources of protein are:

  • Greek Yogurt (15-20g per cup)
  • Low fat string cheese (8g per stick)
  • Peanut Butter (7-8g per 2 Tbsp)
  • Organic Tofu/Tempeh, Sprouted grain bread (6g per 2 slices)
  • Beans and Lentils (8g per serving)
  • Milk (11g per cup)!

#3 | Eat organic if you can! If you need to prioritize your organic food purchases, buy the items on The Dirty Dozen list organic, and buy organic dairy, meat, and soy.

#4 | Eat a variety of foods to get all the nutrients you need. An easy way to do this is to make sure each meal incorporates at least 1 fruit, 1 vegetable, and whole grains/protein. Choose foods high in fiber (whole wheat bread, high fiber cereal, whole wheat pasta, quinoa, brown rice, fruits & veggies).

Also, eat 4 servings of calcium-rich foods a day to ensure you’re getting 1000-1300mg calcium in your diet; along with iron-rich foods to ensure you’re getting 27mg of iron daily.

What Should You Do To Have a Healthy Pregnancy?

Healthy Pregnancy Tips: Lifestyle

#1 | Exercise! Exercise during pregnancy is healthy and absolutely recommended. Prenatal yoga is great, as is walking, or any exercise that doesn’t get your heart rate up TOO high and allows you to maintain a conversation while exercising (that’s a good litmus test on whether it’s too strenuous).

If you were a runner before you got pregnant, it’s usually ok to keep running as long as your doctor agrees and you aren’t experiencing any issues. When I was pregnant, I would do 1 hour of prenatal yoga or walk on the treadmill at 4mph and an incline of 3 for 35 minutes.

#2 | Stay hydrated. I was surprised at how quickly I got thirsty/dehydrated once I became pregnant. Water is obviously great for staying hydrated, but if you need to mix it up a bit, unsweetened coconut water is wonderful (and has electrolytes which help rehydrate you), or you can also mix 1/4 cup of juice with 3/4 cup of water for a refreshing spa like drink.

#3 | Get enough sleep. You’ll have plenty of sleepless nights once your baby comes! If you can, try to get 7-8 hours a night. Your body will thank you 🙂

#4 | Keep stress levels low. The ironic thing is, some aspects of pregnancy can be quite stressful! But try your best to keep your stress levels low: do some breathing exercises, get a prenatal massage, rely on your partner for support, go for a walk, take a warm bath, meditate, etc. Just do the best you can — don’t get too down or be too hard on yourself if you do get stressed once in a while!

#5 | Follow some of the no-brainers: this includes:

  • Don’t smoke
  • Don’t drink alcohol (although some doctors say 1 glass of wine here and there is ok in your 3rd trimester)
  • Limit caffeine to no more than 300mg per day (8oz of coffee has 150mg, black tea has 80mg)
  • Don’t do crazy adventure sports or anything that would risk you falling / injuring yourself while pregnant.

What Prenatal Vitamin Should I Take?

Healthy Pregnancy Tips: Prenatal Vitamins

Prenatal vitamins are important to make sure you and your baby are getting all of the nutrients you both need during your pregnancy.

My Top 2 Prenatal Vitamins Are:

Pros
Cons
Buy Now

Lastly, the most important thing I can tell you is to just enjoy the ride! Pregnancy is such a unique experience and is always an emotional roller coaster.

Remember to enjoy each moment as much as you can, be gentle with yourself, embrace any emotion you feel at the time, and be ok with having both good days and bad days (every day of pregnancy won’t feel blissful and that’s ok!)

Time will fly and soon your new little one will be here before you know it!

24 responses to “Healthy Pregnancy Tips For The Mom-to-Be”

  1. Hi!
    I came looking for a great prenatal vitamin. When I got to the bottom of the article it says my Top 2 vitamins are: and then it says enjoy the ride. Any chance you could tell me your suggestions for vitamins? I was taking the myKind Organic but the holy basil has me nervous!
    Many thanks!

    • Hi Kristen! Oh how strange! I’m not sure what happened there but the table with my top 2 vitamins should be back in the post now! To your question – my top Prenatal vitamin is from Raise Them Well – it doesn’t have the holy basil that MyKind Organics does and it has really good ingredients! But actually, MyKind Organics is my #2 prenatal vitamin. That’s the vitamin I took when I was pregnant with both of my kids and I had no issues. To your point – the holy basil could be concerning but my OB was totally fine with it and said it shouldn’t be an issue. That said, you should consult with your OB to find out whether they’d prefer you take Raise Them Well or MyKind Organics! Hope that helps!

  2. I’m glad you mentioned that yoga or walking are good exercised during pregnancy because they don’t cause too much of an increased heart rate. My husband and I are looking for an OB-GYN in our area because we’ve decided to try and get pregnant and want the help of a professional right from the start. Thanks for teaching me these tips I can use to stay as healthy and comfortable as possible once I’m pregnant!

  3. I thought it was interesting when you explained that it is important for women who are pregnant to get at least 8 hours of sleep a night. In addition to that, I would think that it would be important for women to find an OBGYN to work with as soon as they find out they are pregnant. That way they can make sure that their body will be in good health during the entire process.

  4. Hi Anjali
    There’s much to say about this article. Wonderful information. It’s so nice to have your articles to go to for solid advice.
    I read your every single content. Every time I follow your activity and try to work same. and got some success but still, now I’m a bit far away to follow it regularly, There has any way to chat with you like Email or social media. If you give me a few minutes, then it will help me to avoid my mistake in many aspects.

    Cheers,
    Rashmi Arora

  5. I was insanely picky while Pregnant and probably not eating as healthy as I should be! LOL
    I found a great cookbook however that really helped me throughout my pregnancy! It was Called Full Belly: Good Eats for a Healthy Pregnancy. It was amazing and I totally recommend it to everyone (Pregnant or not). I got my copy from Chapters, but it seems to be cheaper on Amazon!

  6. Hi Anjali! Thank you so much for providing this wonderful resource for everyone! I would love to know your rankings on prenatal supplements. I truly enjoyed reading all the updates and information about the baby formulas. I used that post as a reference when I was going through a hard time not being able to nurse my baby. Also, aside from prenatal vitamins, do you recommend taking anything else with it like DHA?

    • Hi Sasha! I’m so glad you found my posts helpful, and I’m sorry to hear you had a hard time nursing (although it’s great you were able to use my formula post as a reference – hopefully you were able to find a formula that worked for your little one!) For prenatal supplements – I used one prescribed by my doctor because I’m vegetarian and wanted to make sure I was getting enough iron in a gentle way that didn’t mess up my digestion. But my absolute favorite brand for prenatal supplements that you can get at any health food store is My Kind Organics (by GardenofLife). Their ingredients are amazing (organic, non GMO), their vitamins are certified vegan & gluten-free, and their vitamin sources are from real organic whole foods (nothing synthetic) so they are easy to absorb! I’d highly recommend them. I take their women’s multivitamin now even though I’m not pregnant anymore 🙂 And yes, I did take DHA when I was pregnant — it came with the prenatal from my doctor. Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions!

  7. I have a great resource suggestion. I just came across a new book that’s really awesome called “The Wonder Within You” by Carey Wickersham. It’s an awesome combination of week-to-week pregnancy information, what’s going on with the baby, “Did you know?” plus health advice about what to eat, cravings, nutrition, etc, BUT also with awesome 3D/4D pictures and videos you can link or QR with your phone to and see what your baby looks like at each week stage. Even better than the typical week-to-week books, and so personal! It’s got mom stories and even a journal/note section to write your personal memories and letters to your baby. The pregnancy information is as up-to-date as it gets and it’s such a great keepsake. I want to get one for everybody I know who is expecting! Check it out…TheWonderWithinYou.com.

  8. Thanks for the great tips Anjali! It is important to have a healthy vegetarian pregnancy (although some people keep asking us if we are still vegetarian now that we are pregnant!). I would love to see more pregnancy/baby vegetarian articles/recipes in your blog. I am now 31 weeks and I have a very large tummy (people think I am due very soon or ask me if I am having twins!). But doctor says baby and I are healthy, so I do not worry too much about the bump size 🙂
    I wish you a great birth and healthy baby! And congratulations for the great blog!

    • Hi Thay! No problem at all! I’m so glad you found this helpful 🙂 Congrats btw on your pregnancy! You are at the home stretch — 9 weeks to go! Definitely don’t worry about the bump size if your doctor says that you’re healthy. Honestly, your doctor’s opinion is the only one that really matters. For pregnancy recipes — honestly I didn’t do anything different, I just ate a bit more at each meal and incorporated a couple sources of healthy protein (Greek Yogurt, String Cheese, etc.) in between meals. So all of the recipes on my blog would be great for pregnancy. Regarding baby food recipes and healthy baby / veggie baby tips – I will absolutely be posting about that as I experiment and learn with my new baby girl! I wish you a wonderful pregnancy and birth as well, and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any other questions!

    • Haha yup! I bought like a bunch of them from Target when I found out I was pregnant — because they are stretchy and aren’t just for maternity wear, are affordable, and are great as workout shirts too 🙂

  9. Thank you for posting this! I’m 24 weeks pregnant and not “huge”, but I feel like it’s because I’ve been eating healthy and staying active. My doctor says the baby and I are healthy, but people on the street remark that I’m not a blimp (like that’s a bad thing?). Your tips and pictures made me feel normal 🙂

    • Awww I’m so glad this post helped you Laura! And I totally empathize with you – I’ve gotten the same comments about my size (which initially made me anxious about whether me and the baby were healthy) but I think it’s also because I’ve been eating healthy and staying active (like you!) Honestly, the most important thing is what your doctor says – and if he/she says you’re healthy, and you’re feeling great, that’s all that matters! Hope you have a wonderful rest of your pregnancy – stay well! 🙂

  10. These are great tips! Can you believe how close it is getting?! I’ll be 28 weeks tomorrow, and though 12 weeks still seems like a long time to me, I’m sure it will fly. I’m not a vegetarian, but don’t eat a lot of meat, so string cheese and greek yogurt has been my savoirs. I think string cheese is a great midnight snack too, for those nights you wake up and cannot fall back asleep because your stomach is growling. Good luck in your last trimester!

    • Thanks Michelle!! I know – I feel the same way as you do! 12 weeks still seems pretty far away to me too 🙂 Totally with you on the string cheese and Greek Yogurt – honestly I have no idea what I’d do about protein without them! Hope you have a healthy and smooth last trimester as well — our babies are going to have birthdays very close to each other!

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