Eating well is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your unborn baby. What you eat while you’re pregnant affects the way your baby grows and develops. To nourish yourself and your baby, eat foods from all five food groups each day. (Every pregnancy is different, talk to your prenatal care provider about what is right for you during your pregnancy).
Whole grains, cereals, rice and pasta provide much needed vitamins and minerals, as well as fiber. Fiber helps reduce problems with constipation.
Vegetables and fruits provide vitamins, minerals, and folic acid needed to build bones, muscles and blood cells. Be sure to eat a variety, including green leafy and brightly colored vegetables.
Lean meat, poultry, fish, beans and eggs are good sources of protein. Protein is the basic building block of all cells, and is needed for your baby’s brain, muscles, blood and bones to grow.
Milk, yogurt and cheese provide calcium which is essential for healthy teeth and bones. They are also good sources of protein.
Fats and oils are only needed in small amounts.
Iron is an essential nutrient that produces hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying protein in the blood. Your baby will store it to meet his needs for the first several months after birth. Good sources are red meat, beans, eggs, spinach, dried fruits and enriched grains.
Ask your doctor about taking folic acid alone or as part of a multivitamin supplement. Folic acid may help to prevent serious birth defects of the spine.
Every pregnancy is different, talk to your prenatal care provider about what is best for you.