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Healthy eating during pregnancy

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Nutrition plays an integral role in maintaining overall well-being, especially for expectant mothers. Practicing healthy habits before you get pregnant is the best way to maintain proper nutrition throughout your pregnancy, and help you minimize excessive weight gain. Exercise and a balanced diet with proper amounts of protein, fruits, vegetables and whole grains is highly recommended for pregnant women to safeguard the health of mother and baby.

Contrary to the common expression that you should be “eating for two,” you should only be adding approximately 300 calories to your daily food intake. You only need to make small modifications to your diet to accommodate your baby. Try to add lean protein to every meal, in the form of fish, yogurt, almonds and eggs. Drink 64 ounces of water a day and avoid sugary beverages, which increase your risk for gestational diabetes. Women who are pregnant should also avoid consumption of raw meats as well as unpasteurized milks, cheeses and fruit juices.

Most women gain weight during pregnancy, but, with the help of your obstetrician, you can manage how much you gain. Average weight gained during pregnancy depends on the individuals starting BMI (Body Mass Index), but the average woman gains 10-25 pounds. To an extent, you can control the excess weight gain, which is why it’s important to talk to your doctor about diet and exercise during pregnancy.

Average weight gain for average BMI:

  • Those with a BMI over 30 (considered obese)
    • 11-20 pounds
  • Those with a BMI from 25-29
    • 15-25 pounds
  • Those with a BMI from 18 – 24 (average weight)
    • 25-35 pounds
  • Those with a BMI under 18 (underweight)
    • 28-40 pounds

Because of the absolute importance of maintaining a balanced diet and exercise routine during pregnancy, Cone Health Women’s Hospital offers both group exercise classes and a class called “Preparing for Nine Special Months.” This class is designed to help you and your partner map out the healthiest course possible for your pregnancy and developing baby. To find out more about the Preparing for Nine Special Months and group exercise classes offered through Cone Health Women’s Hospital, visit or call (336) 832-6848.

Physician Background:

Dr. Jennifer Ozan is an OB/GYN at Eagle OB/GYN and a member of the Cone Health medical staff. Dr. Ozan received a Bachelor of Arts in neuroscience from Skidmore College in 2006 and her medical degree from the University of North Texas Health Science Center, Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2010. She completed residencies in obstetrics and gynecology at St. Francis Hospital in 2014.

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