Staying Healthy During Pregnancy

As your baby grows and your body changes, it is important to stay healthy to have a healthy pregnancy. You can do this by:

  • Eating healthy foods.
  • Being physically active.
  • Reducing caffeine intake.
  • Getting plenty of sleep.
  • Staying hydrated.


Choose a mix of healthy foods you enjoy from each food group to get nutrients you need during pregnancy. 

To get the nutrients you need during pregnancy choose a mix of healthy foods you enjoy from each food group.

  • Whole fruits — like apples, berries, oranges, mango and bananas.
  • Veggies — like broccoli, peas, spinach and peppers.
  • Whole grains — like brown rice, oatmeal and whole-wheat bread.
  • Proteins — like lean meats and chicken, eggs, seafood, beans, nuts and tofu..
  • Low-fat or fat-free dairy — like milk, yogurt, cheese, lactose-free dairy and fortified soy products (soy milk).
  • Oils — like vegetable oil, olive oil and oils in foods like seafood, avocado and nuts.

Make healthy snack choices. Try:

  • Low-fat or fat-free yogurt with fruit, look for options with no added sugar.
  • Whole-grain crackers with peanut butter.
  • Carrots with hummus.
  • If you’re feeling sick, try eating dry toast, dry cereal or saltine crackers.

Limit drinks with caffeine and added sugars

  • Drink plain water instead of sugary drinks. Avoid soda, juices, sweetened waters and energy or sports drinks. Try adding fresh fruit or herbs to your water for flavor instead.
  • Limit caffeine to less than 200 mg per day. For example, one 12-ounce cup of coffee. Try decaffeinated coffee or tea and skip the sweeteners and cream.

Foods to Avoid

Some foods may have bacteria in them that can be harmful to your baby. You should avoid eating:

  • Raw and undercooked seafood, eggs and meat. Do not eat sushi made with raw fish. Cooked sushi is safe.
  • Unpasteurized juice, milk or cheese. Make sure it says made with pasteurized milk on the label.
  • Lunch or deli meats, smoked seafood and hot dogs (unless they’re heated until steaming hot, 165 °F).
  • High-mercury fish like shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish. Mercury is a toxin and can cause serious problems with your baby’s development.



Talk to your provider about exercising during pregnancy. If your provider says it is ok, pick activities you enjoy. Remember to start slowly especially if you are new to exercise.

  • Try to exercise 2 to 3 times per week for 20 to 30 minutes each time.
  • Drink plenty of water before, during and after you exercise.
  • Avoid lifting heavy weights or exercising outside on very hot days.
  • Listen to your body. Take a break if you feel tired or short of breath.

Exercise during your pregnancy can offer the following benefits:

  • Fewer backaches.
  • Less constipation, swelling and bloating.
  • Less pregnancy weight gain.
  • Faster recovery time after delivery.
  • Better sleep.
  • More energy.
  • Less trouble getting back to your pre-pregnancy weight.

Ideas for Excercising

  • Walking: A brisk walk indoors or outdoors is a great workout that puts less strain on your joints and muscles. Get in extra steps by taking stairs instead of elevators.
  • Swimming and water workouts: Moving against water causes your heart rate to rise. It’s also easy on your joints and muscles while supporting the weight of your baby.
  • Low-impact exercises: These exercises don’t put as much strain on your body but are just as effective. Try exercises like low-impact aerobics, riding a stationary bike or using an elliptical machine.
  • Yoga and Pilates: Make sure your yoga or Pilates teacher knows you’re pregnant. They can help you with poses that are safe during pregnancy.

Search online to see if there are affordable or free classes in your area. You can also look for free online classes or exercises created for those who are pregnant that you can do from your own home.

Low-Dose Aspirin

Taking a low dose aspirin (81mg) once a day starting at 12 weeks of pregnancy until delivery has been shown to lower risk of developing preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is a high blood pressure disorder that can occur with pregnancy.

Talk with your provider to see if this medication can help you. You may be at high risk for developing preeclampsia or high blood pressure due to pregnancy if you have any of the following risk factors:

  • History of preeclampsia in a past pregnancy.
  • Chronic hypertension or high blood pressure outside of pregnancy.
  • Diabetes.
  • Pregnant with twins, triplets, etc.
  • Kidney or autoimmune diseases.
  • Over 35 years of age.
  • BMI over 30.

Did You Know?

You should wear a seat belt every time you travel, even when you are pregnant? You and your baby are more likely to survive a car crash when wearing a seat belt.



Advocate for Yourself

You and your healthcare provider should work together to make decisions about your healthcare and treatments. Working together is necessary to meet your healthcare goals for you and your baby. Trust your gut.

  • Do not be afraid to speak up or ask questions if something doesn’t feel right.
  • Find a provider you feel comfortable talking to and asking questions. Share your vision about what you want your birth plan to be, so they understand your wishes.
  • Write down your questions. It is common to think of questions between prenatal appointments. Keep track of your questions so you don’t forget them when you get to your next appointment.
  • Bring support. Bring your partner, friend, family member or doula to your prenatal appointments. Your support can help voice concerns, ask questions and take notes for you.
  • If you have doubts about labor and delivery, ask yourself: “Am I and my baby safe?,” “What are my options?” and “What effect will this have on me and my baby?”

Types of Prenatal Providers

  • An obstetrician/gynecologist or OB/GYN is a doctor and surgeon who specializes in female reproductive health including pregnancy, delivery and postpartum.
  • A family physician or a family doctor is a doctor who has the ability to treat every member of your family. They may also have special training to care for you during your pregnancy and delivery. They can care for you and your baby after delivery.
  • A maternal-fetal medicine physician or MFM is an OB/GYN who has completed additional training to care for high-risk pregnancies. If you have medical problems that can cause difficulties during pregnancy, your doctor might advise that you see an MFM.
  • A certified nurse midwife or CNM is a registered nurse who has completed extra training to provide care during pregnancy, delivery and after delivery. Depending on where you live there may be other types of midwives available to help care for you and your baby. Ask your care manager for more information.
  • A women's health nurse practitioner or WHNP is a registered nurse specially trained to care for those who are pregnant and after delivery throughout their lifespan. They do not normally perform deliveries.

We can help you find a provider in your area who is right for you. Call the number on the back of your health plan ID card or contact your care manager.

 Fast Fact:

A doula is a non-medical member of the care team trained to provide one-on-one physical and emotional support and guidance before, during pregnancy and after delivery.