Dietary Guidelines for Pregnant and Lactating Women

What are the Dietary Guidelines for Americans?

Did you know that until 2020, we didn’t have federal dietary guidelines for pregnant and lactating women?

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) are the federal source of evidence-based information on diet and nutrition. While most people I know aren’t waiting around for this 164-page document to drop, it’s kind of a big deal for dietitians and the food industry.

Important nutrients during pregnancy and lactation

As we continue to drill down, let’s look at the key nutrients included in the dietary guidelines for pregnant and lactating women.

Folate

This is the one everyone has heard of. But did you know that the most important time to get the nutrient is BEFORE you get pregnant? So don’t wait until you pee on a stick for this one. The Guidelines say to supplement a month before getting pregnant, but how many of us know when that will be?!

A better recommendations is for all women capable of getting pregnant to supplement, either individually or as part of a prenatal vitamin. You want to look for 600-800 mcg of methylated folic acid.

Iron

Your needs increase during pregnancy and a little during lactation. However, if you haven’t gotten your cycle back yet postpartum, you could be OVER-supplementing if you keep taking your prenatal. It’s super important to discuss your situation with your healthcare team to keep your levels appropriate.

Choline

Most women are not meeting their daily choline needs AND most prenatal vitamins don’t have enough (if any) choline. Double whammy. So unless you’re eating 2-3 eggs each day, you probably need a supplement.

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ABOUT Katie

I’m Katie Goldberg (AKA The Pregnancy Dietitian), mom of 2 little humans, health coach, and registered dietitian nutritionist. I can guide you through the research and best practices (and avoid all the B.S.) to help you confidently nourish your body and your baby during this unique season of life.

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