Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy

Dear Mom,

You want to have a healthy baby and keep yourself healthy, too. Eating nutritious foods and getting the care you need is one of the greatest gifts you give to your developing baby.
WIC can help you:

The tips on this page do not replace your healthcare provider’s advice. Write down questions to ask before you go to your prenatal checkups.

When you visit your local WIC office, you can learn more about healthy eating. We hope you enjoy all that WIC has to offer.

Your WIC staff

Get Prenatal Care

Prenatal care is healthcare for pregnant women. A healthcare provider or specially trained nurse checks that you and your baby are okay.

You can expect:

Get prenatal care as soon as you think you are pregnant. The above schedule is a guide; it is important to go to all recommended appointments. You can learn more about your baby and how your body is changing.

pregnant woman doctor

Choose Healthy Foods for You and Your Baby

Your baby grows best when you eat healthy. Choose a variety of foods from all 5 food groups every day.

For a personal daily food plan, visit

Sample Menu

You and your baby do best when you eat regular meals and snacks. Here is a sample menu using some foods you can purchase with your WIC benefits.

Here are some examples of what meal and snack portion sizes might look like on your plate.


1 banana
1 cup non-fat or 1% milk
1 slice whole grain toast
1 cooked, scrambled egg


½ cup cooked broccoli florets
1 cup water
1 ounce cornbread
½ cup tomato sauce
and ¼ cup pinto beans and ¼ cup red beans


1 cup 100% orange juice
1 cup cut up melon
½ cup low-fat yogurt
5 or 6 whole grain crackers
with 3 or 4 cheese slices
½ cup sliced cucumbers with 1 tablespoon dressing
water between meals and snacks


1 cup mixed, green salad with ¼ cup tomato
with ½ hard-boiled egg with 1 tablespoon dressing
½ cup cooked, sliced carrots
1 cup cooked brown rice
with 3 ounces baked, sliced chicken
1 cup non-fat or 1% milk

Snacks: Tasty, Healthy, and Easy

Aim for 2-3 snacks each day. Try healthy snack combos by picking foods from at least two food groups. These balanced snacks will keep you feeling satisfied.

Example: Peanut Butter + Apple Slices

Bread, Cereal, or
Other Grain

Dairy or


Fruit or

Fast Food Restaurant Tips

On the go? Ask for these fast foods:
Food Safety Tip

Food Safety Tip

Don’t eat certain foods.

Some foods are not safe for you and your baby when you are pregnant. Do not eat:

Ask your healthcare provider before you take herbs or drink herbal teas; they may not be safe for your baby.

Take Prenatal Vitamins

Prenatal vitamins have extra and to help your baby grow. Check to see if your prenatal vitamin has at least 150 mcg of iodine. If the prenatal vitamin you take doesn’t have this amount of iodine, ask your healthcare provider.

Don’t take any other vitamins unless prescribed by your healthcare provider.
Preg pills

Keep Your Teeth Healthy

Keep Your Teeth Healthy

Pregnant women go through hormonal changes that can impact the health of their mouth.

To keep your teeth and gums healthy, be sure to:

Use a soft-bristle toothbrush. Brush gently. If your gums bleed when you brush or floss, tell your healthcare provider.

Be Active for a Healthy Body

Your body stays fit when you move it. If your healthcare provider says it’s okay, keep active. Walking, stretching, and swimming are a few good ways.
Being active will help you:

Find time to be active for 30 minutes most or all days of the week.

You can break the time up like this:

Walk 10 minutes in the morning

Walk 10 minutes in the afternoon

Walk 10 minutes in the evening

30 minutes

Walking with weights

Weight Gain

The amount of weight you should gain depends on your weight before pregnancy. Ask your healthcare provider, nurse, or WIC staff for a weight graph to track your progress.

Your Pre-Pregnancy Weight
BMI less than 18.5
Healthy Weight
BMI 18.5-24.9
BMI 25-29.9
BMI greater than or equal to 30
Healthy Weight Gain During Your Pregnancy
28-40 pounds
25-35 pounds
15-25 pounds
11-20 pounds
Preg Checkup

Weight gain during pregnancy helps your baby grow. First trimester weight gain should be 1-4 pounds. Starting in the 4th month, you may gain about half (½) to one (1) pound a week.

To keep a steady weight gain:

If your weight gain is:

Just Right

You may lose the weight easier after your baby is born. It can help protect your health and the health of your baby.

Too little

Your baby could be born too small or too soon.

Too much

It may be harder to lose the weight after your baby is born. It could also increase your and your baby’s risk of long-term health problems.

If you are expecting twins, triplets or more, talk with your healthcare provider about the weight gain that is right for you.

Keep Your Baby Safe and Healthy

It is recommended to avoid tobacco, nicotine, alcohol (beer, wine, liquor, or mixed drinks), marijuana, and illegal drugs during pregnancy. Each of these products can negatively impact you and your baby’s health.

We know it can be difficult to stop or reduce use of these products. If you are struggling, there are resources available that can help.

You are not alone.

We are here to support you.

For support with quitting tobacco or nicotine use, including free coaching, a free quit plan, and free educational materials, visit

For support with quitting alcohol, marijuana, or other illegal drug use, contact your healthcare provider or visit

Ask your healthcare provider before you take medicine to make sure it is safe for your baby.

Pregnancy Discomforts

Your body changes when you’re pregnant. You might feel sick to your stomach during the first 3 or 4 months. Some smells and foods might make you throw up.

If you feel sick… (morning sickness):
“Morning sickness” can occur anytime of the day.
Pregnant pain
Preg Mom

As your baby grows, you might get an upset stomach when you eat. It might be hard to move your bowels. Talk to your healthcare provider if you get these problems. Don’t take medicine unless advised by your healthcare provider. Here are some tips:

If you have heartburn…(Indigestion):

If you’re constipated… (can’t poop):

pregnant back ache

Give Your Baby the Best Start – Breastfeed!

Human milk is all your baby needs for the first 6 months of life. Your milk has the right ingredients in the right amounts to give your baby the healthiest start in life. Breastfeeding is good for you too.

Breastfeeding Moms Say…

Breastfeeding moms say

“When I breastfeed, I feel proud. My baby grows
healthy and strong with a gift only I can give.”

Breastfeeding protects your baby’s health.
Babies who are breastfed have a lower risk of:

Breastfeeding is good for mom, too.

Breastfeeding helps you:

Breastfeeding Facts

For more information on breastfeeding, visit

Mom Baby sleeping

My Breastfeeding Plan At The Hospital

Tell your nurses and healthcare provider that your goal is to exclusively breastfeed your baby. Ask them to follow these guidelines as long as it is medically safe for your baby and you.

Exclusive Breastfeeding – Please don’t give my baby any formula, water, or glucose water before speaking to my partner or me.

Skin-to-Skin – During my stay, I want to hold my baby skin-to-skin as much as possible.

Breast Pumps – If my baby is unable to breastfeed or is separated from me due to medical reasons, I want to use a breast pump as soon as possible. If I need to pump longer than my hospital stay, please remind me to call my local WIC office.

No Bottles or Pacifiers – Please don’t give my baby artificial nipples. This includes pacifiers or any type of bottle.

Breastfeeding Support – Please help me with breastfeeding during the first hour after my delivery.

Take-Home Bags – Please do not send any formula or information about formula home with us when we leave the hospital. Instead, please remind me that I’m giving my baby the best nutrition by choosing to breastfeed.

Make Time for Yourself

Having a baby is hard work! At times you may feel tired, emotional, and grumpy. You might even feel sad. Find time to relax and get some rest. If you feel overwhelmed, ask for help.

Ask for help from family and friends.

Talk to your healthcare provider.

Call the Postpartum Support International Helpline at 1-800-944-4773, visit, or text 800-944-4773 (English) or 971-203-7773 (Spanish).

To show yourself some love:

If you have thoughts of harming yourself or your baby, get immediate help.

Call 1-800-273-8255 or call/text 988 for free and confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

For breastfeeding support, contact your local WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselor or WIC Designated Breastfeeding Expert.
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.
Side Lying Hold

Side-Lying Hold

  1. For the right breast, lie on your right side with your baby facing you.
  2. Pull your baby close. Your baby’s mouth should be level with your nipple.
  3. In this position, you can cradle your baby’s back with your left arm and support yourself with your right arm and/or pillows.
  4. Keep loose clothing and bedding away from your baby.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

Cross Cradle Hold

Cross-Cradle Hold

  1. For the right breast, use your left arm to hold your baby’s head at your right breast and baby’s body toward your left side. A pillow across your lap can help support your left arm.
  2. Gently place your left hand behind your baby’s ears and neck, with your thumb and index finger behind each ear and your palm between baby’s shoulder blades. Turn your baby’s body toward yours so your tummies are touching.
  3. Hold your breast as if you are squeezing a sandwich. To protect your back, avoid leaning down to your baby. Instead, bring your baby to you.
  4. As your baby’s mouth opens, push gently with your left palm on baby’s head to help them latch on. Make sure you keep your fingers out of the way.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

Football Hold

Clutch or “Football” Hold

  1. For the right breast, hold your baby level, facing up, at your right side.
  2. Put your baby’s head near your right nipple and support their back and legs under your right arm.
  3. Hold the base of your baby’s head with your right palm. A pillow underneath your right arm can help support your baby’s weight.
  4. To protect your back, avoid leaning down to your baby. Bring baby to you instead.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

Breastfeeding Holds

Cradle Hold

  1. For the right breast, cradle your baby with your right arm. Your baby will be on their left side across your lap, facing you at nipple level.
  2. Your baby’s head will rest on your right forearm with your baby’s back along your inner arm and palm.
  3. Turn your baby’s tummy toward your tummy. Your left hand is free to support your breast, if needed. Pillows can help support your arm and elbow.
  4. To protect your back, avoid leaning down to your baby. Instead, bring your baby to you.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

Breastfeeding Holds

Laid-Back Hold

  1. Lean back on a pillow with your baby’s tummy touching yours and their head at breast level. Some moms find that sitting up nearly straight works well. Others prefer to lean back and lie almost flat.
  2. You can place your baby’s cheek near your breast, or you may want to use one hand to hold your breast near your baby. It’s up to you and what you think feels best.
  3. Your baby will naturally find your nipple, latch, and begin to suckle.

This hold is useful when: