Nutrition for Pregnant Women: A Guide

If you're wondering about what you should eat during pregnancy, you'll find some important recommendations below.
Nutrition for Pregnant Women: A Guide

Last update: 20 April, 2019

In this article you’ll find a guide to proper nutrition for pregnant women. Eating the right kind of diet when you’re pregnant or have just given birth is important for your health and the baby’s growth. Don’t forget that what a woman eats and drinks is a source of nutrition for the baby.

For this reason, it’s very important to choose dietary options that are well suited to providing the body with the elements it needs. It’s clear that food choices need to be considered in terms of the ideal nutrition parameters for pregnant women.

A pregnant woman needs large quantities of calcium, iron, proteins, and folic acid. These nutrients help to prevent brain disorders, deficiencies in the formation of bones, lack of oxygen in the circulatory system, and muscle tissue deficiencies.

“An inadequate nutrition level, whether in preconception or during pregnancy, will have a negative impact on the mother’s ability to carry through with the pregnancy and on the health of the mother and child. On the other hand, a good nutrition level will reduce the risk of low birthweight, premature birth, and nutritional deficiencies in the mother and the fetus.”

– Argentina’s Ministry of Health –

Nutrition for pregnant women. What should you eat?

Greek yogurt. This dairy product is especially beneficial for expecting mothers. Greek yogurt has more calcium than all other milk products. In addition, it has probiotics that help to improve digestive health and prevent infections.

Legumes like lentils, green peas, green beans, and peanuts. These foods contain fiber, folic acid, and many other nutrients. As a consequence, they help to prevent illnesses in the mother and baby.

Eggs. Eggs contain a little of each nutrient that you need for a healthy diet. One of these elements is choline, a molecule that helps in brain development, both physically and functionally.

Lean meats. Beef, pork, and chicken are an excellent source of protein, iron, choline, and B-complex vitamins.

Berries and red fruits. These small berries are laden with water, healthy carbohydrates, vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants. Additionally, they’re ideal for calming anxiety without increasing your caloric intake.

Nutrition for Pregnant Women: A Guide

Avocado. This is a unique fruit because it has a lot of fatty acids that are good for the body. It also has vitamins B, K, E, and C, as well as potassium and copper. All these nutrients help to alleviate leg cramps. Unfortunately, leg cramps can occur frequently during pregnancy.

Nuts. Nuts are an ideal part of a diet during pregnancy. They’re high in nutrition despite being small in size.

Types of foods

Every type of food has nutritional benefits for pregnant women. A number of examples are given below:

  • Grains are ideal as a source of energy 
  • For their part, fruits and vegetables have an abundant amount of antioxidants. In addition, they’re also rich in fiber and vitamin complexes.
  • Meat, nuts, and vegetables have the proteins, the folic acid, and the iron that the body needs.
  • Dairy products of different types are a source of calcium and vitamin D. As mentioned earlier, one of the best for a mother’s body is yogurt.

What food or drinks should be restricted in the diets of pregnant women?

Beverages with caffeine. The safe limit is less than 200mg a day, the equivalent of 12 ounces. Nonetheless, if you can avoid it completely, it would be better for your health and the health of your baby.

Salmon and sardines are rich in the fatty acid omega 3 and protein. However, there are other types of fish like white tuna that are high in mercury. They should be limited in the diet as a result.

Alcoholic beverages. Alcohol can pass directly to the baby from the mother’s bloodstream through the umbilical cord. As a result, this substance can cause physical, cognitive, and behavioral defects in the child in the future.

Unpasteurized dairy products. Women who are gestating are more susceptible to parasites and bacteria that are found in underprepared foods.

Nutrition for Pregnant Women: A Guide

There are other dimensions to take into account. In addition to healthy foods, a pregnant woman needs an adequate amount of water. She should also take vitamin supplements to assure she’s getting all the necessary nutrients. Many foods don’t contain abundant nutrients, which is why you should find alternate sources. 

When thinking about the best nutrition for pregnant women, you should know that nutritional needs change during pregnancy. Unfortunately, just changing the portion size of what you already eat isn’t enough.

What you have to assure is that the mother-to-be is eating the micro and macro elements that are necessary for the healthy development of the mother and baby. 

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Gharehbaghi K., Ghrehbaghi DR., Wierrani F., Sliutz G., Treatment of chronic functional constipation during pregnancy and lactation. Z Geburtshilfe Neonatol, 2016. 220: 9-15.
  • Calder PC., Omega 3 fatty acids and inflammatory processes: from molecules to man. Biochem Soc Trans, 2017. 45 (5): 1105-1115.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.