Eating a healthy diet during pregnancy is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your baby. Approximately 300 extra calories are needed daily to maintain a healthy pregnancy. These calories should come from a balanced diet of protein, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, with sweets and fats kept to a minimum.
A healthy, well-balanced diet during pregnancy can also help to minimize some pregnancy symptoms such as nausea and constipation.
Fluid intake is also an important part of healthy pregnancy nutrition. Women can take in enough fluids by drinking several glasses of water each day, in addition to the fluids in juices and soups.
Grains provide essential carbohydrates, your body’s main source of energy. Many whole-grain and enriched products also contain fiber, iron, B vitamins and various minerals. Fortified bread and cereal can help you get enough folic acid.
Fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are critical components of pregnancy nutrition, since they provide various vitamins and minerals, as well as fiber to aid digestion. Vitamin C, found in many fruits and vegetables, helps you absorb iron. Dark green vegetables have vitamin A, iron and folate — other important nutrients during pregnancy.
Meat, poultry, fish, eggs and beans
Foods in this group have plenty of protein, as well as B vitamins and iron. Protein is crucial for your baby’s growth.
The calcium in dairy products and calcium-fortified soy milk helps build your baby’s bones and teeth. Dairy products also have vitamin D and protein. Aim for 3 cups a day.
Water carries nutrients from the food you eat to your baby. It can also help prevent constipation, hemorrhoids, excessive swelling, and urinary tract or bladder infections.
Fats, oils and sweets
Choose foods with healthy fats such as nuts, seeds or avocados. Use oil and vinegar as your salad dressing. It’s OK to indulge once in a while — as long as you’re getting the nutrients you need and your weight gain is on target. To avoid going overboard, control your portion sizes of foods high in fat and sugar.