Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Ages & Stages

Nutrition and Exercise During Pregnancy

Nutrition and Exercise During Pregnancy Nutrition and Exercise During Pregnancy

​​​​During pregnancy it is important that you get the right nutrients and energy needed to keep you and your growing baby healthy. Physical activity is also just as important when you’re pregnant as at any other time of life.


Follow your obstetrician’s advice regarding your use of prenatal vitamins. You should take vitamins only in the doses recommended by your doctor. Perhaps more than any other single vitamin, make sure you have an adequate intake (generally, 400 micrograms a day) of folic acid, a B vitamin that can reduce the risk of certain birth defects, such as spina bifida. Your obstetrician may recommend a daily prenatal vitamin pill, which includes not only folic acid and other vitamins, but also iron, calcium, and other minerals, and the fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (ARA). Fatty acids are "good" fats, and DHA in particular accumulates in the brain and eyes of the fetus, especially during the last trimester of pregnancy. DHA and ARA are also found in human breast milk

Make sure your doctor knows about any other supplements you may be taking, including herbal remedies.

Eating for two

When it comes to your diet, plan balanced meals. They should contain protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals. This is no time for fad or low-calorie dieting. In fact, as a general rule, you need to consume about 350-450 more calories per day your second and third trimesters than before you became pregnant. You need these extra calories and nutrients so your baby can grow normally.


Physical activity is just as important when you’re pregnant as at any other time of life. Discuss a fitness program with your doctor, including fitness videos or online programs.

If you haven’t been exercising regularly, your doctor may suggest a moderate walking or swimming regimen, prenatal yoga, or Pilates classes. Take it slowly during the first few workouts—even five to ten minutes a day is beneficial and a good place to start. Drink plenty of water while working out, and avoid activity with jumping or jarring movements. If you are already physically active, certainly maintain the level of activity you’re comfortable with, but also listen to your body, and be willing to slow down when you need to.

Last Updated
Adapted from Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age Five 7th edition (Copyright © 2019 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
Follow Us