I’m 3 months pregnant and have gained 9 pounds in 2 months.

I’m 3 months pregnant and have gained 9 pounds in 2 months. I’m not sure what I should eat. Fruits, especially citrus fruits are good, aren’t they? My doctor gave me a list with haddock and whitefish on it. I don’t eat those. What should I eat?

You should slow your weight gain as you have six months yet to go before delivery. All pregnant women are encouraged to gain 22 to 28 pounds. Normally, a pregnancy lasts 40 weeks. If you set a goal of at least 20 pounds, you should gain one-half pound per week or two and one-half pounds per month. Actually, your weight gain in the first three months should be the least because the fetus is so small and calorie needs are not as high. However, the first three months are when cells are becoming organized into different systems of the body and cell number is increasing. During this critical period, you want to make sure that the nutrients needed for cell growth are present in your diet. Weight gain during the last three months should be the greatest because the fetus is putting on weight during this time.

A pregnant woman’s first nutritional needs are to take care of maintaining and repairing her body. Then we add the additional needs of a growing fetus. A fetus is developing muscle, lean tissue, bones and blood. The biggest nutritional needs are for added protein, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, folacin, vitamin B6, and zinc. The amount of calories needed to supply these additional nutrients is not that much.

A pregnant woman needs an extra 300 calories which could be achieved by eating three ounces of meat and drinking an extra eight-ounce glass of milk. The additional vitamin and minerals could be reached by eating dark green leafy vegetables, whole cereal grains, and fruits, especially citrus fruits that are excellent sources of vitamin C and folacin.

I would suggest that you ask your doctor for nutritional counseling to help plan your food intake during your pregnancy. The weight that you gain over about 28 pounds may be fat that you will have to lose after delivery.