IRON helps support the immune system and create red blood cells. A pregnant woman requires 27 milligrams of iron each day, about 9 milligrams more than normal. Red meat and fortified cereal are both great sources of iron.
CALCIUM helps create strong bones and teeth for both mother and baby. Pregnant women require approximately 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily. To meet this requirement, moms should consume three servings of dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt and others) each day.
ZINC aids in cell production, brain development and tissue growth. A pregnant woman requires 11 milligrams of zinc each day. Zinc can be found in lean beef, low-fat milk products, almonds and other nuts.
CHOLINE is one of the building blocks for the brain and spinal cord. A pregnant woman needs about 450 milligrams of choline each day. The best sources are eggs, meats, oatmeal and iceberg lettuce, as this nutrient is not often found in vitamin supplements.
PROTEIN encourages the baby’s growth, especially during the second and third trimesters. It is recommended that a pregnant woman consumes about 70 grams of protein each day. Lean beef, chicken, turkey, and fish/seafood (see above) are good sources of protein.
B VITAMINS help the body utilize energy from the foods we eat. A small increase in the normal intake of B vitamins is helpful for pregnant women. They are found in lean beef, pork, poultry and enriched grains.
VITAMIN C reduces the risk of hypertension and miscarriage. Pregnant women require 85 micrograms of vitamin C, which can be obtained from citrus fruits and juices or from broccoli and bell peppers.
FLUIDS keep the body hydrated and ease discomfort. Pregnant women should try to drink about 10 cups of fluid daily. Options include water, milk, juices and selected coffees or sodas, if approved by your medical provider.