Pregnancy Nutrition

Basic Nutritional Needs During Pregnancy

Need help? A Dietitian can help you develop a healthy nutrition plan during pregnancy for a beautiful mother and baby.  Although I have put the amounts of nutrients needed, a mother’s main focus should be on the source of the foods she eats.  When your diet is based on whole unprocessed foods the numbers take care of themselves.  Ideally, the source of your foods should be from organic based foods and pastured animal products.  Please check with your care provider about any medical issues or concerns*.

Healthy Weight Gainpregmar1

  • Generally 25 to 35 pounds (based on current 2009 IOM Guidelines)
  • This needs to be assessed on an individual basis, taking an objective look at pre-pregnancy weight and nutrition
  • A rule of thumb:  eating healthy foods everyday is much more delightful and adventurous then watching the scale

Prenatal Vitamin Supplement

  • Remember high or mega levels of supplemental forms of vitamins and minerals can be toxic or cause interference of the absorption of other vitamins, minerals, or nutrients.  (check nutrition label)
  • A good choice would be a prenatal supplement made from whole foods.  Here are two examples:  New Chapter Perfect Prenatal  or Rainbow Light Organic Prenatals


  • Intake needs to meet your baby’s growth as well as your placental growth
  • Ask a dietitian to find out how many grams/day you need (best to find a holistic health dietitian)

Folate NOT Folic Acid

    • 600 ug/day to prevent neural tube defects  (defects of the brain, spine, or spinal cord)
    • 400 ug/day should come from a supplement that says:  folate or  “5-methyltetrahydrofolate” or “5-MTHF” (the natural form as found in foods)
       ~ new research is showing chronic high intakes of the synthetic form “folic acid” as possibly  harmful (sources to check out:  high levels decrease natural killer cells [these cells help destroy tumor cells]The Doctor’s Research, folate vs folic acid, Is your breakfast giving you caner?)
    • Foods high in natural folate include: broccoli, peanuts, asparagus, lentils, dried beans, green leafy veggies, orange juice and fpregmar2ortified cereals (please read link above about “your breakfast”)
    • Did you know?  Folate is also needed for the formation of red blood cells and your blood volume increases 50% during pregnancy!!  It is essential for the production, repair, and function of DNA in cells.  (DNA can be thought of like the material that makes a brick, the brick can be thought of like a cell – healthy bricks make a strong house.  See where I am going….So healthy cells make a beautiful and strong baby!) During pregnancy there is a rapid cell growth of your baby and baby’s placenta.
    • Check your prenatal first – its probably already in there. Other examples of supplements: Pure Encapsulations Folate  or Solgar Folate


    • 30 mg/day to prevent anemia, preterm birth and low birth weight
    • Helps form new Red Blood Cells as your blood volume needs to increase 50% during pregnancy!
  • A healthy blood volume increase helps your baby receive adequate oxygen supplies for pregnancy, labor, and birth
    • Vitamin C helps to increase the absorption of Iron into your body


  • 1000-1200 mg/day
  • Why? a growing baby needs strong bones to last a lifetime

Vitamin C

  • 85 mg/day
  • Why? helps tone and strengthen the uterine muscles (for a smooth labor), helps body defend against infection, improves wound healing, collagen formation, and don’t forget–helps your postpartum recovery!
  • Vitamin C helps your body absorb dietary iron

Vitamin A

  • Why? helps prevent infections, aids in fat metabolism, postpartum tissue repair and keeping vaginal cells healthy
  • Essential for baby’s embryonic growth (central nervous system [CNS], heart, respiratory system, etc.)
  • Animal Foods – found naturally in animal foods such as dairy, eggs, meats, organ meats, and fish
  • Beta-Carotene Form – found in plant sources such as fruits and vegetables
  • Supplements should contain the beta-carotene form ( ProVitamin A) to reduce incidence of toxicity to baby
  • ProVitamin A (beta carotene) 2500 IU/day    Preformed Vitamin A (animal foods) 770 ug RAE/day

Vitamin D (Sunshine Vitamin)


  • 450 IU (11.25 mcg)/day
  • Two Eggs contain about 250 IU
  • Positively correlates to optimal brain development for your baby during pregnancy
  • Essential to the structural integrity and signaling functions of cell membranes (cells make up your baby’s brain, organs, skin, muscles, etc…)
  • Aids in cholesterol transport and elimination from the body, helps break down fat for energy

Fats: Omega-3 Fatty Acids (DHA)

  • 300 mg/day (research is evolving for omega-3 fats, there is a difference of opinion on how much is needed each day, some say 300 mg/day is too low)
  • DHA is a Omega-3 fatty acid that is not made by the body and must be obtained through foods or via supplement
  • Essential for brain, eye, and central nervous system development and function
  • Also may reduce preterm labor and postpartum depression
  • Content of a mother’s diet will determine how much is passed on to her baby
  • Foods Containing DHA:  Fish such as salmon are your main source, pastured meats (bison, lamb, beef, chicken, turkey), and pastured dairy products and eggs, fermented cod liver oil has a small amount of DHA but it is very easily absorbed by your body
  • Other healthy fats: olive oil, coconut oil, pastured butter, avocados, olives, and walnuts


  • Prevents dehydration and hypervolemia (low blood volume)
  • A healthy blood supply, keeps an adequate supply of oxygen sent to your baby
  • Total body water accounts for 50% of a woman’s body weight and 75% of baby’s body weight


  • Needed for increased blood volume
  • Amniotic fluid changes 8x/day
  • Salt to taste

*All material obtained on this website should not be construed as personal medical advice or instruction and is offered on an informational basis only. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this site. Readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being. No content is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.