Nutritional Tips During Pregnancy

Eating for Two is a Serious Responsibility

Woman sitting in chair eating green apple
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Pregnancy changes your daily life, including your diet. It's important to eat well-balanced meals because you're eating for two.

The most important nutrients during pregnancy are:

  • folic acid
  • iron
  • calcium

Here are some tips to ensure your diet is what it needs to be during pregnancy.

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Eat Nutrient-Dense Foods When Pregnant

When eating for two, get rid of empty calories and exchange them for nutrient-dense foods. Empty calories come from added sugar and fats in foods like:

  • soda and baked goods
  • fried foods
  • processed meat products

Foods rich in vitamins and minerals include:

  • fresh fruit and vegetables
  • whole grains
  • lean meats and vegetable protein

Pregnancy Food Cravings

Eat a Variety of Foods When Pregnant

One of the most fun ways to get all the nutrients you and your baby need is to eat a variety of food. When you look at your plate, it should be colorful and represent several food groups. Eating a variety of food also helps prevent boredom with your diet.

Stay Hydrated During Pregnancy

Drink at least 6 to 8, 8-ounce glasses of water per day. Soft drinks like soda and coffee do not count toward your daily water consumption goal.

Staying hydrated has many benefits for the two of you, including:

  • avoidance of early labor
  • healthier skin (meaning more elastic)
  • a general decrease in annoying pregnancy symptoms (constipation, swelling, etc.)

Protein for You and Baby

Protein is the building block of every cell in your baby's body. Some studies indicate that adequate protein intake, defined as 75 grams a day or more, can protect you against eclampsia, pregnancy induced hypertension and other disorders. 

"Grazing" to Combat Digestive Issues

Eat smaller frequent meals if you are plagued with nausea and/or vomiting problems, heartburn, or reduced stomach space later in pregnancy. "Grazing" can also help level out blood sugar, making you feel a bit better during the day. 

Keep a Food Log While Pregnant

Keep a food log of what you're eating, either with an app or written in a notebook. This way you can keep track of the nutrients you eat each day. You can share your food log with your midwife or physician, too. 

You Must Gain Weight When You're Pregnant

Remember that gradual weight gain is necessary for you and your baby to be healthy. As a general rule, you should gain 2 to 4 pounds in the first trimester and an additional 3 to 4 pounds per month during the second and third trimesters.

Do not diet or restrict calories without consulting a health care professional. 

Prenatal Vitamins

Prenatal vitamins help you get the extra protein, iron, calcium and folic acid required for a healthy baby. They are not meant to replace nutritious food. Before you begin taking prenatals, consult your health care practitioner because too many vitamins can cause harm just like a deficiency can.

Expecting Moms With Special Needs

Women with special needs, require a special diet. Your diet during pregnancy might require the help of a nutritionist if you:

  • are anemic (low iron)
  • have a multiple pregnancy
  • are a teenager
  • have diabetes
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Article Sources
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  • Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Top Tips for Eating Right During Pregnancy (2015)
  • Medline Plus: Pregnancy and Nutrition