Pregnancy Diet & Nutrition

What a woman eats and drinks during pregnancy is her baby's main source of nourishment. So, experts recommend that a mother-to-be's diet should include a variety of healthy foods and beverages to provide the important nutrients a baby needs for growth and development.

Key Pregnancy Nutrition
Folic acid:
Also known as folate when the nutrient is found in food, folic acid is a B vitamin that is crucial in helping to prevent birth defects in the baby's brain and spinal cord.
Food sources - leafy green vegetables, fortified or enriched cereals, breads and pastas, beans, citrus fruits.

Calcium:
This mineral is used to build a baby's bones and teeth. Pregnant women age 19 and over need 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day; pregnant teens, ages 14 to 18 need 1,300 milligrams daily.
Food sources - milk, yogurt, cheese, calcium-fortified juices and foods, sardines or salmon with bones, some leafy greens (kale, bok choy).

Iron:
Pregnant women need 27 milligrams of iron a day, which is double the amount needed by women who are not expecting.
Food sources - meat, poultry, fish, dried beans and peas, iron-fortified cereal.

Protein:
More protein is needed during pregnancy, but most women don't have problems getting enough protein-rich foods in their diets. Protein helps to build important organs for the baby, such as the brain and heart.
Food sources - meat, poultry, fish, dried beans and peas, eggs, nuts, tofu.

Foods to eat:
Fruits and vegetables
Lean protein
Whole grains
Dairy

Foods to limit:
Caffeine
Fish
Foods to avoid:
Alcohol
Fish with high levels of Mercury
Unpasteurized food - Unpasteurized (raw) milk and foods made from it
Raw meat - rare, raw or undercooked meats and poultry
Raw or undercooked sprouts, such as alfalfa, clover
Unpasteurized juice or cider

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