You can start your diet for pregnancy even before you become pregnant by ensuring you get enough of the critical vitamins and minerals in your diet, like folic acid, iron, calcium, and the B vitamins. If you do this, you won't have to make many changes in your diet once you become pregnant to ensure the well-being of yourself and your baby.
What you eat every day, even before you are pregnant, is important for your health as well as for the health of your baby. Your diet before pregnancy and your pregnancy diet should contain the vitamins and nutrients that your body will need to help your baby develop and grow the way he or she should.
Practice healthy eating habits and take a multivitamin every day. Start this good habit before you become pregnant, and continue eating healthy and taking a prenatal multivitamin throughout your pregnancy. If you need help choosing healthy foods or have questions about how to improve your diet for your future baby, ask a health professional at your doctor's office or at a local clinic.
If you were eating a healthy diet before you became pregnant, you may only need to make a few changes to meet the nutritional needs of a pregnancy diet. According to the American Dietetic Association, pregnant women should increase their usual servings of a variety of foods from the four basic food groups (up to a total of 2,500 to 2,700 calories daily) to include the following:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains
- Dairy products
Fruits and Vegetables
A pregnancy diet should consist of seven or more servings of fruits and vegetables combined (three servings of fruit and four of vegetables) daily to ensure you get enough vitamins and minerals.
Fruits and vegetables with vitamin C should be part of a diet for pregnancy, because they help you and your baby to have healthy gums and other tissues, and help your body to heal wounds and to absorb iron.
Examples of fruits and vegetables with vitamin C include:
- Leafy, green vegetables
Fruits and vegetables also add fiber and other minerals to your diet and give you energy. Plus, dark green vegetables have vitamin A, iron, and folate, which are important nutrients during pregnancy.