Healthy Eating During Pregnancy

STEPHENVILLE, Texas — Pregnant women need extra nutrients, but some ascribe to the myth that “eating for two” means they can consume as much food as they want. The following guidelines may help women understand their nutritional needs during pregnancy.

According to the March of Dimes, most women who are expecting need an extra 300 calories per day to help their babies grow, especially later in pregnancy. Women who are thin, active or carrying multiple babies may need even more. Those who are overweight should consult a physician.

Health care providers may advise overweight or obese expectant mothers to consume fewer calories than those who maintain a normal weight. And the calories they do consume should not be empty calories, but come from nutritious foods that contribute to your baby's development.

“When you're pregnant, what you eat and drink is so important for the proper nourishment of your growing baby,” said Laurie McGuyer, clinical dietician at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Stephenville. “The foods you choose to eat should contribute to your baby’s growth and keep your body healthy as well.”

March of Dimes recommends that women who are pregnant:

  • Eat foods rich in folic acid, such as enriched grain products, orange juice, leafy green vegetables and beans, to prevent birth defects to the brain and spinal cord.
  • Eat four to six smaller meals a day to help relieve heartburn and discomfort.
  • Limit caffeine each day to 200 milligrams or about the amount in one 12-ounce cup of coffee.
  • Take a multivitamin or prenatal vitamin every day. Ask a health care provider about whether an iron or calcium supplement is needed.
  • Drink at least six to eight glasses of water, juice or milk every day.
  • Fish with high mercury content should be limited to one serving or less per week.

Specific guidelines detailing how much of each type of food pregnant women should eat each day is available at

About Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Stephenville
Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Stephenville is a 98-bed acute care, full-service facility serving Erath and surrounding counties since 1926. The hospital's services include inpatient and outpatient surgery, women’s services, advanced diagnostic imaging, inpatient and outpatient physical therapy and wound care. Texas Health Stephenville, an affiliate of the faith-based, nonprofit Texas Health Resources system, has been recognized as a Nurse-Friendly Hospital and a Level IV Trauma Center. For more information, call 1-877-THR-WELL, or visit

About Texas Health Resources
Texas Health Resources is one of the largest faith-based, nonprofit health care delivery systems in the United States and the largest in North Texas in terms of patients served. The system of 13 hospitals includes Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital, Texas Health Harris Methodist hospitals, Texas Health Presbyterian hospitals, and a medical research organization. Texas Health is a corporate member or partner in six additional hospitals and surgery centers. For more information, call 1-877-THR-WELL, or visit

Doctors on the medical staff practice independently and are not employees or agents of the hospital.