Pregnancy Nutrition Tips

Healthy food is good for you and your baby.

When you're eating for two, it's important to make it count...for both of you! That's why you should pay attention to these simple tips on nutrition during pregnancy. By eating well while baby's still in the oven, you're setting your little one up for success later! The basic principles of healthy eating remain the same while pregnant--keep getting lots of fruits and veggies, whole grains, and lean proteins. Here are a few more pointers on how to stay healthy and let your waist grow--the good way!


Folate (Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate) is a B vitamin that helps prevent neural tube defects, as well as serious abnormalities of the brain and spinal cord. The lack of this vitamin during pregnancy is also associated with preterm delivery, so make sure to get plenty of it! The average woman needs about 800 micrograms of folate or folic acid before conception, but 1,000 micrograms a day during pregnancy. Fortified cereals, leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits, and dried beans and peas are all great sources of folate. Here are a few suggestions on how you can get your fill of folate:

3/4 cup of ready-to-eat fortified cereal = 400 micrograms of folic acid

1/2 cup of boiled spinach = 100 micrograms of folic acid

1/2 cup of boiled Great Northern beans = 90 micrograms of folic acid

4 boiled spears of asparagus = 85 micrograms of folic acid

1 ounce of dry roasted peanuts = 40 micrograms of folic acid

1 small orange = 30 micrograms of folic acid


For strong bones (now) and teeth (eventually!), calcium is essential. This nutrient also helps your circulatory, muscular, and nervous systems run well. If you don't consume enough calcium while you're pregnant, your body will start taking it from your bones so the baby well get enough. Pregnant women need an average of 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day, while pregnant teens require 1,300 milligrams a day. Dairy products are an easy way to add calcium to your diet. Many fruit juices and cereals are also fortified with this nutrient.

8 oz of plain, low-fat yogurt = 415 milligrams of calcium

1 cup of skim milk = 300 milligrams of calcium

1.5 oz of part-skim mozzarella cheese = 275 milligrams of calcium

6 oz of calcium-fortified orange juice = 250 milligrams of calcium

3 oz of canned pink salmon with bones = 180 milligrams of calcium


Protein is another one of those key nutrients during pregnancy. It promotes your baby's growth, especially during the second and third trimesters. Lean meat, poultry, fish, and eggs are all great sources of protein, but beans, peas, tofu, dairy, and peanut butter are great too!

3 oz of chicken breast = 27 grams of protein

3 oz of salmon = 20 grams of protein

1 cup of low-fat cottage cheese = 30 grams of protein

1 cup of skim milk = 8 grams of protein

2 tbsp of creamy peanut butter = 8 grams of protein

1 large hard-boiled egg = 6 grams of protein


The body uses iron to make hemoglobin, the protein in your red blood cells that carries oxygen to your tissues. During pregnancy, the need for iron spikes dramatically because your blood volumes increases to accommodate the dramatic changes in your body. If you don't consume enough iron in your diet, you can become fatigued and more susceptible to infection. Preterm delivery and low birth weight are also potential risks of a diet low in iron. Pregnant women need about 27 milligrams of iron a day. Lean red meat, poultry, fish, iron-fortified cereals, nuts, and dried fruits are all great options to achieve this.

3/4 cup of ready-to-eat iron-fortified cereal = 18 milligrams of iron

1/2 cup of boiled spinach = 3 milligrams of iron

1 cup of boiled kidney beans = 5 milligrams of iron

3 oz of beef tenderloin = 3 milligrams of iron

3.5 oz of dark turkey - 2 milligrams of iron