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Pregnancy Nutrition: 5 Essential Nutrients You Should Be Getting

Your body works double-time during pregnancy… and it can get pretty crazy. Your hormones go into overdrive, you experience various pains and cramps, and the acne that you had thought was a thing of the past is now decorating your forehead.

Aside from this, you will also experience all sorts of discomfort like nausea and vomiting (morning sickness is a myth — it strikes anytime), loose joints, even gas pain. Basically, you can say that pregnancy is a time when you lose control over your body. But all these happen for good reason: the child in your womb.

With all of these said, pregnancy is a very crucial time to be healthy not only for your baby but also for you. You need to have a healthy pregnancy diet that’s rich with all the important nutrients, particularly these ones in our list.

1. Calcium (1,200 milligrams a day)

For optimum pregnancy nutrition, you need to have a diet that is rich in calcium. Calcium is vital for your baby’s development as it is necessary in building strong bones and teeth. Aside from that, calcium also helps in the development of the circulatory, nervous, and muscular systems. 

Best foods to eat while pregnant:

  • Milk and dairy products
  • Spinach
  • Orange juice
  • Tofu
  • Cabbage
  • Eggs

2. Folic Acid (600-800 micrograms a day)

Perhaps one of the more commonly known nutrients given through prenatal vitamins is folic acid or folate. Folic acid is a nutrient responsible for the development of your child’s brain and spinal cord as well as the production of both red blood cells and white blood cells. Taking folic acid daily also prevents birth defects such as neural tube defect. 

Best foods to eat while pregnant:

  • Liver
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Beans and lentils
  • Nuts
  • Citrus fruits

3. Iodine (220 micrograms a day)

Iodine is the nutrient that helps the thyroid gland produce hormones that are essential for brain development and body growth. Iodine intake is necessary in preventing thyroid problems for you and your child. Aside from that, lack of iodine can also result in cognitive delays. 

Best foods to eat while pregnant:

  • Seafood like fish, shellfish, and seaweed
  • Dairy products
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Iodized salt

4. Iron (27 milligrams a day)

Iron-deficiency anemia can be common among pregnant women, which is one of the causes of nausea and fatigue. Aside from these symptoms, lack of iron may put you at risk for infections. A diet that is rich in iron will help increase blood flow, alleviating pregnancy symptoms and discomforts, and will help in supplying enough oxygen to your baby. 

Best foods to eat while pregnant:

  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Lean meat and poultry
  • Beans and legumes
  • Citrus fruits
  • Eggs

5. Protein (70 grams a day)

Finally, to complete the essentials of a healthy pregnancy diet, you need the right amount of protein, which is vital in building your baby’s muscles and fetal tissues — especially the brain tissue. Protein also helps in increasing blood supply both for you and your baby. 

Protein helps build a baby's muscles, bones, and other tissues, especially in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. The recommended protein intake during the second half of pregnancy and while breastfeeding is 71 grams daily. Healthy sources of protein include lean meat, poultry, fish, beans, peanut butter, eggs, and tofu.

Best foods to eat while pregnant:

  • Lean meat and poultry
  • Fish
  • Beans and nuts
  • Eggs
  • Tofu
  • Cheese


Your body does a lot of hard work during pregnancy, which can be seen in the symptoms that you may be feeling. To have a healthy pregnancy, you need to eat a well-balanced diet rich in all the essential nutrients that will benefit you and your growing child.

(Featured image by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash)
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