Nutrient Needs

Now that you know how much weight you will need to gain, let's talk about the kinds of foods you should eat. Healthy foods will help your baby grow to be healthy and strong.

Here is a table of nutrients that you will need to have during your pregnancy:

What You Need Why You Need It Where to Get It
Folic Acid Helps prevent birth defects Spinach, kale, collard and turnip greens
Iron Helps your baby grow Meat, spinach, kale, whole grains, beans
Calcium Helps your baby have strong bones and teeth Broccoli, kale, milk, cheese
Vitamin C Helps your body use iron Oranges, peaches, kiwi fruit
Vitamin B-6 Helps your baby grow Chickpeas, potato, fish, meat, tomatoes
Vitamin D Helps your body use calcium Be in the sun for 10-15 minutes each day
Vitamin B-12 Helps your baby form blood and nerves Eggs, crab, fish, meat
Fatty Acids Helps your baby have healthy eyes and nerves Soybeans, seeds, walnuts
Zinc Helps your baby develop Nuts, beans, meat, tofu
Iodine Helps your baby develop Meat, seaweed, iodized salt
Protein Helps your baby grow strong Tofu, eggs, cottage cheese

You can go to your local grocery store to buy some of the foods listed. Every time you buy and eat a food on this list, reward yourself! (But do not make it a big piece of chocolate cake: we need to keep eating healthy for you and your baby.)

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (2011). Nutrition during pregnancy. Available at

Craig, W. J., & Mangels, A. R. (2009). Position of the American Dietetic Association: Vegetarian Diets. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 109(7), 1266-1282. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2009.05.027

Kaiser, L. L., & Allen, L. (2008). Position of the American Dietetic Association: Nutrition and lifestyle for healthy pregnancy outcomes. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 108, 553-561. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2008.01.030

Penney, D. S., & Miller, K. G. (2008). Nutritional counseling for vegetarians during pregnancy and lactation. Journal of Midwifery and Women's Health, 53(1), 37-44. doi: 10.1016/j.jmwh.2007.07.003

U.S. Department of Agriculture (2010). USDA national nutrient database for standard reference, release 22. Nutrient lists. Retrieved from

U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2010). Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 7th Edition, Washington, DC.

For more information or to make an appointment, please call 667-214-1300 or toll-free at 866-608-4228.

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