Navigate Up

Pregnancy Center - A-Z Index

J
K
Q
X
Z

Print This Page

Eating Right Before Pregnancy

Eating Right Before Pregnancy

There is no special diet that will help you get pregnant. However, if you are considering pregnancy, you should eat a balanced diet and take a vitamin and mineral supplement that includes at least 0.4 milligrams (400 micrograms) of folic acid. Folic acid reduces the risk of birth defects, especially problems with the baby's spine, such as spina bifida. You should also avoid vitamins with high doses of Vitamin A. Steer clear of herbal supplements, because we don't have good studies on the safety of herbs in pregnancy.

If you drink alcohol or use drugs, stop before you get pregnant to protect your developing baby. Also, cut down on caffeine when you are trying to get pregnant. Women who consume more than 250 mg of caffeine a day -- about 2 cups of coffee, or 5 cans of soda -- may have a harder time getting pregnant and may increase their risk of miscarriage.

It's also best to limit the amount of seafood you eat. Seafood contains methyl mercury, which in large quantities, can cause birth defects. The FDA recommends that women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant consume no more than 12 ounces of fish a week, and avoid large ocean fish such as shark, tilefish, king mackerel, and swordfish. No more than 6 ounces per week of albacore tuna and Atlantic salmon should be consumed during pregnancy. Tilapia, cod, salmon (excluding that from the Atlantic), crab, shrimp, sardines, and canned chunk light tuna are good sources of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. They can be safely consumed in amounts up to 12 ounces per week.

To ensure you are getting all the nutrients you and your baby need, it's best to discuss your nutritional needs with your doctor before you become pregnant, and again during your pregnancy.

Updated: 12/9/2012

Irina Burd, MD, PhD, Maternal Fetal Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. A.D.A.M. Editorial Update: 06/11/2014


©  UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions. All rights reserved.

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

© UPMC
Pittsburgh, PA, USA UPMC.com