Important Dietary Choices During Pregnancy

Important Dietary Choices During Pregnancy

Pregnant women naturally eat healthy as they can often experience built in deterrents such as strong smell and taste sensitivity, as well as nausea or diarrhea for some. Eating right at anytime during your life is essential, but important dietary choices during pregnancy are critical.

Lacking to follow a nutrient specific menu can result in possible health challenges such as gestational diabetes or a miscarriage. It may also lead to something that manifests further down the line like child obesity, attention deficit disorder, hyperactivity, and more.

In addition to your prenatal daily supplement talk to your doctor about eating the right choices for direct assimilation through food. Below are some you may want to discuss.

The Core Four

Calcium, folic acid, protein and iron are four essential nutrients needed during pregnancy. Eating foods that contain a good amount of each of these nutrients will be soaked up by your fetus like a hungry sponge.

Calcium +D

Obviously a major player in healthy bones and teeth, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, calcium should be consumed at about 1000 to 1300 milligrams per day during pregnancy. Dairy is usually the go-to source, however, for those that may be lactose intolerant other sources such as broccoli, kale, bok choy, sardines and salmon contain high calcium.

Add in foods fortified with vitamin D and this is a win-win for your baby’s health. Failure to obtain enough calcium may result in it being leached from the mothers bones which can cause some adverse conditions while stressing the fetus.

Folic Acid

Healthy brain development could be assisted by a good amount of folic acid. Without it, a fetus may not only end up with low brain function, but also other fetal growth factors such as birth defects of the spine.

The March of Dimes ushered in supplemental recommendations which includes folic acid as part of your prescribed, daily neonatal vitamin, but adding folic acid rich foods could be helpful as well. This includes figs, avocado, leafy green vegetables and enriched breads, cereals and pastas.


All we ever hear is protein, protein, protein and for good reason. This is a “builder nutrient” according to Sarah Krieger, a registered dietitian and spokeswoman on prenatal nutrition for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in St. Petersburg, Florida. For the brain, heart, muscles and more, protein is your fetus’ friend. Check with your doctor about the best protein choices for you which may include beans, nuts, tofu, fish, eggs, cheese and lean meats.

According to The Baby Center, “Your prenatal daily requirement of 70 grams is the equivalent of two glasses of milk, a 5-ounce chicken breast, and two cups of yogurt, for example.”

Iron +C

This mineral just sounds good for you and of course it is. For pregnancy, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends double the amount of normal iron absorption per day at 27 mg.

However, supplements can be constipating. Ask your physician if incorporating iron rich foods may work for you choosing such dishes as beans, peas, dark green leafy vegetables, lean meats, fish and poultry as well as iron-fortified cereals.

It is also recommended to get a good amount of vitamin C as this is essential in assisting iron’s absorption.

Pregnancy Power Foods

Sticking to highly nutritious, healing and strengthening choices can be considered “power foods” for pregnancy. As your system goes into overdrive to carry your baby, keep these at the top of your food chain:

  • Dried Beans and Lentils – Lola O’Rourke RD, spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association recommends legumes for 15 grams of protein per cup.
  • Broccoli – Broccoli is loaded with calcium, folate, and vitamin C.
  • Bananas – A great source of muscle feeding potassium as well as excellent nausea control says O’Rourke.
  • Eggs – An excellent replacement protein source when meats are unwanted.
  • Oranges – Great for hydration as well as vitamin C, fiber and folate.
  • Soy – Fresh soybeans (edamame), tofu, and tempeh all hold high levels of plant based protein for those pregnant women that want to maintain a vegetarian diet or go easy on animal based choices.
  • Fortified Cereals – This is a fast and easy way to access a list of important micronutrients in one fell swoop.

Make sure that you consciously stick to important dietary choices during pregnancy. Speak to your doctor about your eating habits and how you may be able to integrate more essential foods for your and your baby’s health.