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Make Healthy Food Choices

Good nutrition paves the way for good health. These steps can get you started on the right path whether or not you're planning a pregnancy.

  • Healthy food choices are important before and during pregnancy. It’s important to learn and practice good eating habits during this time, to provide not only for your needs, but also for a baby’s needs (in case you get pregnant), and also to prevent possible harm to an unborn baby.
  • Coffee, tea, sodas, and colas are common sources of caffeine. These drinks are low in nutrients and often replace healthier choices such as milk and fruit juice. High caffeine intake may delay conception. It’s wise to limit caffeine intake to less than 200 mg. a day during pregnancy (about 12 ounces of coffee or other caffeinated drinks a day).
  • All women who could become pregnant, including those who take birth control pills, should be sure to choose a variety of foods and take a multivitamin with 400 mcg of folic acid every day. If you get pregnant, folic acid helps to keep your baby from having birth defects of the brain and spine.
  • An unplanned weight loss or weight gain of more than 10% in 6 months may be a sign of a health problem (around 15 to 20 pounds for a woman who weighs 150 pounds). Be sure to share these weight changes with your health care provider.
  • Discuss any supplements or herbs that you take with your health care provider. High amounts of Vitamins A and D, if taken while pregnant, could cause birth defects and severe cognitive or intellectual disabilities in infants. Some herbs can also be harmful.
  • Eating fish has many health benefits, but women who may become pregnant or are pregnant, should avoid shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish. The high levels of mercury in these fish can harm an unborn baby or young child.
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