Nutrition During Pregnancy

It's important to get the right vitamins and minerals during pregnancy. Here’s what you need and how to get it.
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Updated April 25, 2017
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How much:  11 mg per day

Why: Zinc is linked to a lowered risk of preterm delivery, low birth weight, and prolonged labor. It prevents intrauterine growth retardation as well.

Try: Baked beans are a great choice; you’ll get 2.9 mg for each half-cup serving.

Folic acid

How much: 600 micrograms per day

Why: Even before you get pregnant, you should start increasing this one. Doing so cuts your risk of birth defects.

Try: No midnight cravings for spinach or asparagus? Try an orange for 29 micrograms a pop.


How much: 1,000 mg per day

Why: Getting enough calcium can reduce the severity and lower the overall risk of preeclampsia, low birth weight, and preterm delivery.

Try: One cup of skim milk offers 299 mg.


How much: At least 70 grams per day

Why: Your body needs a lot more protein now to help the fetus grow and ensure that baby’s hormones and muscles develop properly.

Try: A 3 oz. boneless, skinless grilled chicken breast yields 28 g, getting you well on your way to reaching your daily requirement!


How much: At least 200 mg per day

Why: Higher levels of DHA in newborns correspond to higher birth weight. It’s also associated with a higher IQ, more advanced motor skills, and fewer emotional and  neurological problems later.

Try: Among your seafood options, Atlantic salmon has the highest levels of DHA—and is low in mercury, making it safe to eat during pregnancy.


How much: 27 mg per day

Why: Not enough can impair baby’s growth and increase the risk of hypertension, eclampsia, preterm delivery, and low birth weight.

Try: At 20 mg, a half cup of quick oats fortified with iron provides more than a serving of beef!

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Vitamin D

How much: 600 international units (IU) per day

Why: It helps increase blood circulation in the placenta and aids in calcium absorption.

Try: 8 oz. of fortified orange juice provides 100 IU, so be sure to drink up!

Your Daily Checklist

[] Prenatal Vitamin

[ ]Whole Grains and Legumes (6 or more servings)
Healthy choices: brown rice, wild rice, whole-grain bread, whole-grain cereal, whole-wheat pasta, pita, tortilla, wheat germ, beans, lentils, peanuts, peas

[] Calcium (4 servings)
Healthy choices: milk, hard cheese, yogurt, collard greens, edamame, sesame seeds, calcium-fortified juice, canned salmon with bones, tofu

[] Yellow, Green and Leafy Veggies and Fruits (3-4 servings)
Healthy choices: winter squash, spinach, kale, lettuce, broccoli, red bell pepper, carrot, sweet potato, apricot, mango, cantaloupe, papaya

[] Vitamin C (3 servings)
Healthy choices: (whole or juiced) orange, grapefruit, kiwi, strawberry, blackberry, raspberry, mango, peach, papaya, cantaloupe, honeydew, spinach, bell pepper, broccoli, cauliflower, tomato, avocado

[] Protein (3 servings)
Healthy choices: poultry, beef, lamb, low-mercury fish and seafood, DHA-enriched eggs, cheese, yogurt, nuts, peanut butter, beans, tofu, edamame, soy pasta

[] Iron (3 servings)
Healthy choices: beef, duck, sardines, spinach, dried fruit, beans, soy products, pumpkin seeds, barley, oat bran

[] Other Veggies and Fruits (1-2 servings)
Healthy choices: green bean, zucchini, mushroom, corn, potato, apple, pear, banana, cherry, blueberry, avocado

[] Fats (roughly 4 servings)
Healthy choices: peanut butter, avocado, sour cream, cream cheese, cream, salad dressing, oil, butter, mayonnaise

[] Fluids (at least 10 cups a day)
Healthy choices: water, sparkling water, skim milk, juice

Updated April 2017

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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