According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), pregnant women should have a diet that consists of a variety foods including proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and fats. From these you should get the right nutrients and vitamins for pregnancy health and your baby’s development.
A balanced diet is the best way to receive nutrients, but vitamin supplements can also be beneficial. Pregnant women should only take vitamin supplements on a health care provider’s recommendation. Supplements do not replace a healthy diet, but rather ensure that a woman is receiving enough daily nutrients. Vitamin supplements work best when taken as part of a healthy diet and not as a substitute for a healthy diet.
Nutrients and Vitamins for Pregnancy
|Essential Vitamin/Mineral:||Why You Need It:||Where You Find It:|
|Vitamin A & Beta Carotene (770 mcg)||Helps bones and teeth grow||Liver, milk, eggs, carrots, spinach, green and yellow vegetables, broccoli, potatoes, pumpkin, yellow fruits, cantaloupe|
|Vitamin D (5 mcg)||Helps body use calcium and phosphorus; promotes strong teeth and bones||Milk, fatty fish, sunshine|
|Vitamin E (15 mg)||Helps body form and use red blood cells and muscles||Vegetable oil, wheat germ, nuts, spinach, fortified cereals|
|Vitamin C (80 – 85 mg)||An antioxidant that protects tissues from damage and helps body absorb iron; builds healthy immune system||Citrus fruits, bell peppers, green beans, strawberries, papaya, potatoes, broccoli, tomatoes|
|Thiamin/B1 (1.4 mg)||Raises energy level and regulates nervous system||Whole grain, fortified cereals, wheat germ, organ meats, eggs, rice, pasta, berries, nuts, legumes, pork|
|Riboflavin/B2 (1.4 mg)||Maintains energy, good eyesight, healthy skin||Meats, poultry, fish, dairy products, fortified cereals, eggs|
|Niacin/B3 (18 mg)||Promotes healthy skin, nerves and digestion||High-protein foods, fortified cereals and breads, meats, fish, milk, eggs, peanuts|
|Pyridoxine/B6 (1.9 mg)||Helps form red blood cells; helps with morning sickness||Chicken, fish, liver, pork, eggs, soybeans, carrots, cabbage, cantaloupe, peas, spinach, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, bananas, beans, broccoli, brown rice, oats, bran, peanuts,walnuts|
|Folic Acid/Folate (600 mcg)||Helps support the placenta, and prevents spina bifida and other neural tube defects||Oranges, orange juice, strawberries, green leafy vegetables, spinach, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, fortified cereals, peas, pasta, beans, nuts|
|Calcium (1,000 – 1,300 mg)||Creates strong bones and teeth, helps prevent blood clots, helps muscles and nerves function||Yogurt, milk, cheddar cheese, calcium-fortified foods like soy milk, juices, breads, cereals, dark green leafy vegetables, canned fish with bones|
|Iron (27 mg)||Helps in the production of hemoglobin; prevents anemia, low birth weight, and premature delivery||Beef, pork, dried beans, spinach, dried fruits, wheat germ, oatmeal or grains fortified with iron|
|Protein (71 g)||Helps in the production of amino acids; repairs cells||Most animal foods, meat, poultry, eggs, dairy products, veggie burgers, beans, legumes, nuts|
|Zinc (11-12 mg)||Helps produce insulin and enzymes||Red meats, poultry, beans, nuts, whole grains, fortified cereals, oysters, dairy products|
Compiled using information from the following sources:
Your Pregnancy and Birth, Month to Month, Fifth Ed. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Ch. 13.
Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, http://www.iom.edu/