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What should I eat to gain weight in pregnancy?
Q: I’m pregnant and underweight. I want to start eating something that can help my body become healthier during this time. Do you have suggestions? My old eating habits were really bad; I don’t like to eat a lot. My stomach is weak, and anything that I ate just made me feel sick. This is my fourth week of pregnancy, and I haven’t been to a prenatal doctor yet.
Kate
A: The first thing you need to do is schedule a visit with a prenatal doctor, as early prenatal care is very important to a healthy pregnancy. Your physician will prescribe prenatal vitamins to help keep you and your baby healthier—always take them on a full stomach, by the way.

Since you refer to your “old” eating habits, I assume you’ve already made some changes in your diet. Variety and nutrient density are important. We recommend eating six small meals a day: the standard breakfast, lunch and dinner with a mid-morning and afternoon snack as well as one before bed. These snacks should consist of fruits or vegetables, a protein source such as cheese, yogurt or pudding—smoothies are great—and perhaps a few whole grain crackers.

Of the three larger meals, breakfast is the most important because you will have gone all night without food. If you have first trimester nausea, settle your stomach with a few dry crackers when you get up and eat as soon as you are able. Frequent, smaller meals are easier to tolerate as your baby grows bigger. Your physician will address your weight at each visit.

Susan M. Leisner RD, IBCLC, RLC Nutritionist & Lactation Consultant