A healthy diet throughout the pregnancy period contains much of the same balance of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients as a healthy diet. The difference is that you need higher amounts. If you already have healthy eating habits, it will be easy to make slight changes to secure a healthy pregnancy.

A healthy diet and good nutrition during pregnancy ensure that your baby gets the best source possible. The best diet is a balanced diet that provides adequate amounts of:

  • carbohydrates
  • protein
  • vitamins and minerals
  • healthy types of fat

Complex carbohydrates

Whenever possible, eat complex carbohydrates, such as:

  • Vegetables
  • Whole-grain bread and pasta
  • Beans
  • Legumes

Protein

The American Pregnancy Association prescribes between 75 and 100 grams daily. Your doctor may prescribe more protein if your pregnancy is considered high risk or underweight.

Vegetables and fruits

Vegetables contain vital amounts of:

  • Vitamins A and C
  • Vitamin E
  • Beta-carotene
  • Fiber
  • Folic acid
  • B vitamins
  • Riboflavin
  • Trace minerals
  • Calcium

Fat

Unhealthy fat foods include fried foods, packaged products, and saturated fats containing trans fats. It’s also critical to eliminate all fat from your diet. A healthy balance is advised. Vital fatty acids are important, including omega-3 fatty acids. These are some examples of healthy fats:

  • Avocado
  • Pumpkin and sunflower seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Flaxseed
  • Chia seeds
  • Fatty fish
  • Olive o

Legumes and grains

Healthy grains and legumes, such as beans and dried peas, and other healthy carbohydrates like starchy vegetables and fruits should be part of a healthy diet.

They provide B vitamins and trace minerals, such as magnesium and zinc selenium. Legumes and grains are full of nutrients, including the various B vitamins: thiamin (vitamin B-1), riboflavin (vitamin B-2), folate, and niacin.

Folate intake vitally reduces the risk of having a baby with spina bifida. These foods help to build up the placenta, supply energy for your baby’s development and other tissues in your body.

Iron

You should always eat iron-rich foods. Iron is an essential part of prenatal supplements. Iron is often poorly absorbed from food plants, which is why it’s hard for many people to reach the proper demand.

Talk to your doctor if you are predisposed to iron-deficiency anemia. They may prescribe a supplement. Iron-rich foods include:

  • Spinach
  • Fortified cereals
  • Lentils
  • Kidney, lima, and navy beans
  • Red meats

Salt

You should always eat salty foods in moderation.

Fiber

Eating 20 to 35 grams of fiber a day helps prevent hemorrhoids and constipation. You can get these from whole grains, legumes, veggies, and fruit.

Fluids

Fluids are an essential part of a healthy diet. You should consume at least 64 ounces, or eight glasses, per day. Throughout your pregnancy period, you should limit caffeinated drinks.

Water also helps to reduce your chance of subsequent hemorrhoids and constipation that can develop from straining during defecation. The increased flow of urine also helps reduce your risk of contracting a urinary tract infection, which can be unhealthy for you and your baby.

Folic acid

Folic acid is a vital vitamin that stimulates red blood cell formation and the production of relevant chemical signals in the nervous system. It’s also essential in the process of making DNA. More importantly, folic acid has been recognized as a critical vitamin to prevent neural tube defects in your baby, such as spina bifida.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists prescribes taking 400 micrograms a day before you conceive, and receiving at least 600 micrograms a day from all sources.

Good sources of folic acid include:

  • Beef liver, cooked
  • Cooked green leafy vegetables
  • Fortified cereal
  • Great northern beans
  • Avocado
  • Asparagus

Pantothenic acid

This vitamin (B-5) is an essential factor in the body’s regulatory and metabolic activities. The prescribed daily allowance for the average person is 4 to 7 milligrams. Pantothenic acid is present in:

  • potatoes
  • broccoli
  • whole grains
  • egg yolks
  • meats, including chicken and beef

Riboflavin (B-2)

This vitamin is necessary for fetal development and growth. The prescribed dietary allowance for pregnant women is 1.4 milligrams and 1.6 milligrams for nursing women. A prenatal vitamin may be the best consistent source, but B-2 can be seen in milk and dairy products, with smaller amounts present in soybeans, pork, and grains.

Thiamine (B-1)

Thiamine is necessary for the metabolism and development of the brain, heart, and the nervous system. When you’re pregnant, you need to improve amounts of many vitamins, including B-1. The RDA for pregnant women is about 1.4 milligrams.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is critical for proper cell growth and the development of the blood, eyes, skin.

Vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine)

Vitamin B-6 is vital for your body’s metabolism and for the development of the nervous system and fetal brain.

Vitamin B-12

Vitamin B-12 is found mostly in meats and dairy products. If you have dietary limitations, make sure that your vitamin supplement has sufficient B-12. Nutritional yeast, enriched with B-12, is a great staple for vegetarians. It has a  savory flavor and salty and tastes.

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)

You need regular sources to meet daily requirement, the body doesn’t stockpile Vitamin C, so. The RDA for pregnant women is 85 milligrams per day. You can reach your daily limit through the intake of citrus fruits, consuming fresh fruits and vegetables like berries, broccoli, bell peppers and adding fresh lemon or lime juice to your water.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is found naturally in some fish liver oils. Humans generate vitamin D in their skin in response to sunlight.  However, this vitamin is so vital for pregnant women and growing children, all milk is now enriched with vitamin D per quart as regulated by the U.S. government.

Healthy minerals you  need during pregnancy

Calcium

Calcium is necessary for strong bones and teeth. But it’s also important for the development and function of the heart and other muscles, as well as for the blood clotting system. The fetus demands a large quantity of calcium during development. It’s considered to have a total body store of 25 grams of calcium at birth, all of these are received from the mother.

Mostly, pregnant women need 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily, according to the American Pregnancy Association.  Canned fish with bones, cooked beans calcium-set tofu, and cooked dark leafy greens also provide calcium. Milk and dairy products are also good sources of calcium, as is calcium-fortified orange juice and bread. Prenatal supplements normally contain only 150 to 200 milligrams of calcium. More so, prenatal vitamins alone cannot provide adequate calcium to a pregnant woman.

Iodine

Iodine is important for the regulation of metabolism and the development and functioning of the thyroid gland. The RDA for pregnant women is 220 micrograms per day. These include:

  • Iodized (table) salt
  • Fluoridated drinking water
  • Eggs
  • Brewer’s yeast
  • Milk

Iron

Iron is a vital element in many of the body’s methods. Iron supplements are essential for most women, a few women get sufficient iron through their diet. Oftentimes, women who lack iron become anemic. Iron-deficiency anemia is one of the most popular forms of anemia.

The best dietary source of iron is found in red meat. You can get non-heme iron (found in vegetables) from lentils, blackstrap molasses, spinach, and other kinds of beans. To increase the absorption of plant or non-heme iron, match the food with a vitamin-C-rich source. For instance, add strawberries or freshly sliced bell peppers to your spinach salad. The American Pregnancy Association prescribes a daily intake of 27 milligrams of iron for pregnant women.

Chromium

Chromium is necessary for your baby’s development. Is important you get about 30 micrograms per day. Foods that contain important amounts of chromium include:

  • Peanut butter
  • Whole-wheat bread
  • Asparagus
  • Wheat germ
  • Spinach

Copper

Copper stimulates the growth of cells-tissues, general metabolism and hair growth. It’s a significant component of the baby’s major systems: the heart and circulatory system, the nervous system and the skeleton. One milligram of copper is prescribed daily.

Magnesium

Magnesium is an essential element for bones and teeth, it regulates of blood-sugar levels, and the functioning of body proteins. It’s also vital for tissue growth and repair. The prescribed limit for magnesium for pregnant women is around 300 milligrams. The best food sources of magnesium are:

  • Wheat germ
  • Almonds
  • Tofu
  • Yogurt
  • Seeds such as pumpkin and sunflower

Zinc

The RDA of zinc for pregnant women is 11 milligrams per day and 12 milligrams for nursing women. Sources include:

  • Red meat
  • Seeds
  • Nuts
  • Beans

Phosphorus

Phosphorus is an important part of the development of the muscular, skeletal and circulatory systems. The prescribed daily allowance for nonpregnant women is 700 milligrams for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Sources include:

Prenatal multivitamins help to ensure that you get the basic requirements. But vitamin-packed, fresh foods will also help to boost your baby’s development and immune system.

You should always talk to your dietitian about your diet. They can help you determine if you are taking enough nutrients.