pregnancies are higher risk than the pregnancies of healthy adult
women. There are several reasons for this. First, teenage girls
may not be completely through their own growth process. Adding pregnancy
to a time of rapid personal growth will certainly increase nutritional
demands. It will also challenge reproductive organs early in their
a result, pregnant teens are more likely to deliver their babies
early (premature) or have a baby with low birth weight. Complications
of pregnancy such as anemia, hypertensive disorders of pregnancy,
and preeclampsia are also more likely to develop. Because of higher
risks, it is critical that pregnant teenagers seek prenatal care
as soon as they find out they are pregnant. Enrolling
in prenatal care early in pregnancy can help ensure a healthy pregnancy
outcome. Good obstetrical care will ensure that problems are detected
and treated early, protecting both mother and child. It is very
important that pregnant teenage girls keep all their prenatal medical
appointments and that they are educated about pregnancy needs and
good health practices.
nutritional needs of a pregnant teenage girl are high. Not only
does she need a nutritionally-rich diet to support a growing baby,
but her own nutritional needs are also high. Nutrient and calorie
demands are greatest for girls who become pregnant soon after the
onset of menarche (their first menstruation) as they are most likely
to still be in a stage of rapid growth.
pregnancy, the need for calories, protein, vitamins, minerals and
water all increase. Each girl will require different amounts of
foods providing key nutrients to achieve the desired pregnancy weight
gain and pregnancy support. Age, weight, activity level, and metabolism
all influence how much a teenage girl will need to eat.
food guide below identifies important food groups to include in
a teen pregnancy diet, and a minimum daily recommendation is listed
for servings. This guide is not adjusted for calories, and there
is not enough total food in this table to support a healthy pregnancy.
The table only provides a quick screening for girls to see if they
are eating the minimum amount of specific nutrient-rich foods. Additional
calories will need to be added, but meeting these minimum servings
will help ensure good nutrient intake.
Rich Food Group
What equals a serving
Milk & High Calcium Foods
Choose 4 - 5 servings per day
- 1 cup milk or yogurt
- 2 cups cottage cheese
- 11/2 oz cheese
- 1 cup fortified soy beverage
- 11/2 cups ice cream
- 1 cup calcium-fortified fruit juice
||Choose 2 - 3 servings per day
- 3 oz cooked meat, fish or poultry
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup cooked beans
- 4 tablespoons peanut butter
Breads and Grains
(whole grains are best)
|Choose 6 or more per day
- 1 slice bread (1 oz)
- 1 small tortilla
- 1/2 cup cooked cereal
- 3/4 - 1 cup cold cereal
- 1/2 cup cooked pasta
- 1/3 cup cooked rice
- 1/2 English muffin
- 1/2 small bagel
|Fruits and Vegetables
||Choose 5 or more servings per day
- 1 cup raw fruit or vegetables
- 1/2 cup cooked vegetable
- 1 medium piece fresh fruit
- 1 cup green salad
- 1/4 cup dried fruit
- 1/2 cup fruit juice
|Unsaturated Fats and Oils
||Choose 2 -3 per day
- 1/8 avocado
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
(olive or canola oil are best)
- 1 tsp mayonnaise
- 6 almonds (1/4 oz nuts)
- 20 peanuts
- 1 Tbsp sunflower seeds
plenty of fluids and keeping well-hydrated is important when you
are pregnant. You should be drinking at least 8 - 10 cups of water
each day. Hot weather and physical activity can increase your fluid
needs greatly. You should be urinating frequently and your urine
will be pale or colorless if your fluid intake is adequate. Try
to drink water instead of soda, fruit punch or caffeinated beverages.
Many pregnant teens gain too much weight if they consume large volumes
of calorie containing beverages.
can be a problem during pregnancy. Eating foods rich in fiber can
help prevent it. Choose whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables
several times each day to ensure your fiber intake is adequate.
High fiber breakfast cereals can be helpful. Read labels to find
a cereal that has at least 5 grams of fiber per serving. Again,
water intake is important to help fiber keep intestines moving.
increases your body's need for many vitamins and minerals. A prenatal
vitamin mineral supplement is often prescribed at your first prenatal
visit. If you are already taking any nutritional supplements be
sure to discuss this right away with your doctor as too much supplementation
can be harmful.
acid (folate) is an important vitamin during early pregnancy. An
adequate amount of this nutrient reduces the risk of having a baby
with birth defects of the spine and spinal cord. Ideally, all girls
and women who are in their childbearing years consume at least 400
micrograms of folate daily. Once pregnant, 600 micrograms per
day is needed.
and calcium are two important minerals your body needs in extra
amounts during the second and third trimesters of your pregnancy.
Your health care provider may prescribe extra iron in addition to
the amount in your prenatal supplement if lab tests indicate you
are anemic. If you don't have
enough dairy foods in your diet, you may need an additional calcium
supplement. Iron and calcium supplements should not be taken together
as calcium will interfere with the absorption of iron.
vitamins can be harmful if taken in excess amounts. Excess intake
of vitamin A has been shown to increase the risks of certain birth
defects. It is important to discuss any vitamin and mineral supplements
you are taking with your health care provider.
gain for a pregnant teen is very important. If your weight was
within the recommended weight range for your height when you became
pregnant, you should gain between 28 and 40 pounds (13 to 18 kilograms).
If you are more than 2 years past your first menstrual cycle and
overweight or under 62 inches (157.5 cm) in height, you should gain
at the lower end of this range.
During the second and third trimesters of your pregnancy, you should
be gaining about 1 pound each week. If you are gaining much more
than this you can increase your chances of being overweight after
your pregnancy. Weight gain at less than this rate could increase
your risk of pregnancy complications. Be sure and discuss your weight
gain with your doctor at each prenatal visit.
Your pregnancy is a time to take care of yourself and
protect your unborn baby. Exposing your baby to alcohol, cigarettes,
or drugs can increase pregnancy risks and possibly do permanent
harm to your baby. It is important to talk to your health care provider
if you are using any