are you food-smart?

Take our pregnancy-nutrition quiz and find out how you score.

Congratulations! You’re pregnant. Now what? Do you get to eat everything in sight? Can certain foods harm your unborn baby? We designed a quiz (with help from nutritionist Elizabeth M. Ward, M.S., R.D.) to test your prenatal-nutrition knowledge. It will help you find out what you and your baby need to stay healthy for the next nine months.

1 Your body will require additional calories to build that baby. But how many — and when?

A. Show restraint. An extra 100 calories a day beginning in the second trimester is all most women need.

B. You’re eating for two. Add 300 calories a day as soon as you discover you’re pregnant.

C. Add 300 calories a day starting in your second trimester.

D. You need 500 extra calories a day throughout pregnancy. Woohoo! Bring on the pecan pie!

2 A woman of normal weight should expect to gain how much during her pregnancy?

A. Fewer than 25 pounds.

B. 25 to 35 pounds.

C. 30 to 40 pounds.

D. Up to 45 pounds.

3 Consuming 400 micrograms of folate (or folic acid) every day before you get pregnant helps prevent certain types of birth defects. Which of the following meets this daily requirement?

A. One daily prenatal vitamin (but you should check the label just to make sure).

B. 1 1/4 cups cooked lentils.

C. One large spinach salad, five spears of broccoli, one medium orange and one cup of cooked fava beans.

D. Four cups of orange juice.

E. Any of the above.

4 To get enough calcium (which helps to build your baby’s bones and teeth), you should:

A. Double your usual calcium intake.

B. Drink at least five glasses of 1 percent or nonfat milk each day.

C. Eat your weight in oyster shells.

D. Consume the same amount of calcium you did before getting pregnant.

5 Drinking adequate amounts of fluid daily will help your pregnant body build blood volume and ward off such diverse problems as water retention, preterm labor, constipation, urinary tract infections and dehydration. But how much is enough?

A. Four 8-ounce glasses of water, three glasses of milk and a glass of juice.

B. Six glasses of water, plus four cups of milk.

C. Eight glasses of water, plus two cups of milk, and four or more glasses of fruit juice.

D. Just forget the glasses and go for an Olympic-size pool and a 9-foot straw.

6 You may not be able to prevent your mother-in-law from coming overfor an extended visit after the baby is born, but you can ward off constipation and hemorrhoids by eating adequate amounts of fiber. Which of the following will get you at least halfway to your recommended 25 to 35 grams of fiber per day?

A. Six prunes.

B. Four slices of whole-wheat bread.

C. 3/4 cup bran cereal.

D. Two medium pears.

E. Three bales of hay.

7 You’ve decided to splurge on a five-star meal. Which of the following menu items is not off-limits during pregnancy?

A. Grilled swordfish.

B. Caesar salad.

C. Seared ahi tuna.

D. Carpaccio.

E. California-roll sushi.

F. Greek salad with feta cheese.


1) C. Assuming you ate healthfully before you became pregnant, you should add 300 calories a day during your second and third trimesters. A total daily intake of 2,500 calories is about right; eat more if you’re very active.

Also — need we say it — pecan pie is not the most nutritionally sound way to get your calories.

2) B. Normal-weight women should gain about three to five pounds during the first trimester, and roughly a pound a week thereafter, for a total of 25 to 35 pounds. That’s a substantial but reasonable amount of heft, meant to be nurtured and not despaired or dieted away. Guidelines on weight gain differ for women who are under- or overweight, so check with your doctor.

3) E. Some of these menu options are more practical than others. For example, adding foods rich in folate such as dried legumes, dark-green vegetables and oranges to your diet is wise. But getting enough of these every day can be a challenge (the requirement jumps to 600 micrograms of folate a day once you’re pregnant), so take a vitamin supplement as insurance. And while drinking four cups of orange juice will fulfill your daily requirement for folic acid before you become pregnant, it’s not recommended (unless you own stock in the citrus industry and you don’t mind taking on the shape of an orange from all those additional calories).

4) D. According to the Institute of Medicine at the National Research Council in Washington, D.C., a woman needs 1,000 milligrams of calcium each day, whether she’s pregnant or not. That’s the equivalent of 31¼3 cups of milk — or way more oyster shells than your teeth can safely pulverize.

5) A. Technically, any of these choices would provide enough fluid. However, 64 ounces of water, milk or juice is an appropriate baseline; more is better if you’re particularly active or if it’s a hot day. Juice and soda are fine in moderation; one serving a day of either is ample.

6) C. Prunes, whole-wheat bread and pears are fine sources of fiber — weighing in at 3.6 grams for six prunes, 7.6 grams for four slices of bread and 7.8 grams for a pair of pears. But 100 percent bran cereal takes the prize, at nearly 15 grams of fiber per 3¼4-cup serving. No reliable data are available on the hay.

7) E. A California roll made with cooked crabmeat (not raw fish) is the safest choice on this menu. The Food and Drug Administration warns that swordfish (as well as shark, king mackerel and tilefish) may contain unacceptable levels of mercury. The raw egg used in classic Caesar salad dressing may harbor salmonella (though plenty of so-called Caesar salads are made minus the raw eggs, so investigate further). While not raw, seared ahi tuna usually is served very rare. Raw and undercooked fish, meat and poultry pose a risk of food poisoning, so carpaccio — raw beef — is off-limits. Finally, avoid unpasteurized cheeses such as feta, Camembert and brie, and any blue-veined and Mexican-style cheeses. Also skip unpasteurized milk and unpasteurized fruit juice.