What you eat matters

  • A nutritious diet during your pregnancy is one of the most important things you can do for your baby.
  • Some nutrient needs increase during pregnancy; all can be met by a healthy diet and a prenatal supplement.
  • Folic Acid and Zinc are especially important during the first trimester to support development of brain and nervous system.

Your baby’s growth and development is dependent on you for complete nutrition. What you eat or don’t eat plays a key role in a healthy pregnancy.

Key nutrients and why they’re important to you and your baby:

  • Protein The building block for so many things from enzymes to antibodies from muscles to collagen. On average, your protein needs will increase from about 50 grams to 71 grams per day.
  • Fats Critical for brain and eye development, omega-3 fatty acids—particularly DHA— are in short supply for many women. Your obstetrician may recommend a DHA supplement.
  • Fiber — Fiber can help with constipation, a common side effect of pregnancy.
  • Carbohydrates Carbs are the primary fuel for you and your baby. Choose whole grains, fruits and vegetables which provide fiber and other important nutrients. Avoid carbohydrates with added sugar.
  • Calcium & Vitamin D Together, they’re the foundation for healthy bones and teeth. To guard against your bones being depleted to provide what baby needs, get enough Calcium in your diet. Your doctor may recommend a Calcium supplement, a good idea for most pregnant women.
  • Folic Acid (Folate) This B vitamin is essential for spine and brain development, and for building DNA cells. Make sure your prenatal supplement contains Folic Acid.
  • Iron A mineral necessary for your baby’s neural and red blood cell development. Preventing anemia, an iron deficiency, for yourself is also a watch-out during pregnancy.
  • Iodine The requirement increases during pregnancy so using iodized salt is a good solution.
  • Choline A B vitamin that can help support brain development.
  • Zinc A mineral that helps build a healthy immune system. Zinc may be in short supply in vegetarian diets.

Did you know?

Folic Acid or Folate, especially important during the first trimester, helps reduce risk neural tube defects.

What’s so special about the first trimester?
During the first trimester, your baby’s spine, brain and other organs, such as lungs and liver, are taking form and require some special nutritional care. Folic Acid and Zinc are must-have nutrients at this time to support your baby’s developing nervous system. Since this may have already occurred before you knew you were pregnant, prenatal supplements are often recommended as a pre-pregnancy safeguard if you’re attempting to get pregnant.
How was the information in this article?
Prenatal vitamin and mineral supplements
Food choices for a healthy pregnancy
Pregnancy concerns & diet solutions
Pregnancy Nutrition Quiz

How your baby develops
Pregnancy Nutrition
How your body changes
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