Four Nutrients to Eat While Pregnant

Making sure you get enough of the right nutrients to eat while pregnant is important. What you eat and drink during this time is your baby’s main source of nourishment. You will need to choose a variety of healthy foods and beverages to provide the important nutrients that your baby needs for growth and development.

A pregnant woman needs more calcium, folic acid, iron and protein than a woman who is not expecting. Here is why these four nutrients are important.

Folic acid

When folic acid is found in food, it is known as folate. It is a B vitamin that helps to prevent birth defects in your baby’s brain and spinal cord. It may be hard to get the recommended amount from diet alone, so it is a good idea to take a prenatal vitamin with 600mg folic acid.

Foods that have Folic Acid

The following are good sources of folic acid:

  • leafy green vegetables
  • fortified or enriched cereals
  • breads and pastas
  • beans
  • citrus fruits.


Calcium is a mineral used to build your baby’s bones and teeth. If you do not consume enough calcium during pregnancy, the mineral will be drawn from the reserves in your bones and given to the baby. Vitamin D is another nutrient that works with calcium to develop your baby’s bones and teeth, many dairy products are fortified with it.

The recommended amount of calcium for pregnant women over the age of 19 is 1,000mg a day; pregnant teens, ages 14 to 18 will need 1,300mg daily.

Foods that have Calcium

The following are good sources of calcium:

  • milk
  • yogurt
  • cheese
  • calcium-fortified juices and foods
  • sardines or salmon with bones
  • some leafy greens (kale, bok choy).


During pregnancy, you need 27 mg of iron a day. This is twice the amount of what you need when not pregnant. This is because more iron is needed to make more blood to supply your baby with oxygen. Low levels of iron during pregnancy can lead to anemia. This condition results in fatigue and an increased risk of infections.

Be sure you include a good source of vitamin C when eating iron-rich foods, as it will help with the absorption of iron. An example would be having a glass of orange juice with iron-fortified cereal for your breakfast.

Foods that have Iron

The following are good sources of iron:

  • meat, poultry, fish,
  • dried beans and peas
  • iron-fortified cereal


You will need to ensure you eat more protein during your pregnancy. Thankfully, most women are able to get enough protein-rich foods in their diets. Protein is described as a “a builder nutrient,” because it helps to build important organs in your baby, such as the brain and heart.

Foods that have protein

The following are good sources of protein:

  • Meat, poultry, fish,
  • Dried beans and peas,
  • Eggs
  • Nuts
  • Tofu

Calcium, Folic Acid, iron, and protein are important nutrients to eat while pregnant because they help with the development of a healthy baby. Make sure you are eating a varied diet by striving to include items from the food sources listed above along with taking your prenatal vitamins. This will help your body nourish your baby throughout your pregnancy.

We care about your health here at Women’s Healthcare Associates

At Women’s Healthcare Associates, in Amarillo, Texas, we have a goal to provide you with one of the best experiences in women’s care. Our professional Staff offers personal care that focuses on the health and wellbeing of our patients as individuals. Our Services include prenatal and pregnancy care, digital mammography, bone density screening, and contraception. For more information about how our comprehensive women’s healthcare can help you, please give us a call at (806) 355-6330.

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