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A pregnant woman eating fruit salad while sitting on sofa at home

You've probably heard the phrase “eating for two,” but you might not know that it doesn’t mean eating twice as much food while pregnant.

“Eating for two” is simply a reminder that the food you eat and the nutrients they provide impact both you and your baby.

If not properly nourished in the womb, your baby could be at a higher risk for heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure as an adult. Of course, an inadequate diet affects your health, too.

That’s why it’s so important to eat healthy foods that are full of the following nutrients. One note: the amounts shown are the averages of what you should consume while pregnant. Your body requires smaller amounts when you're not pregnant. Talk with your doctor if you have any questions.

6 Essential Nutrients for a Healthy Baby and Pregnancy

1. Protein

Benefits: Supports your baby’s overall growth.

Daily Amount: 71 grams (g)

Foods: Lean meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, beans, peas, nuts, seeds, soy products.Most American girls begin menstruating before their 13th birthday. Your gynecologist can let you know if your periods are normal and how to get relief from the pain.

2. Folate and Folic Acid

Benefits: Helps prevent abnormalities of the brain and spinal cord; decreases the risk of premature delivery.

Daily Amount: 600-1,000 micrograms (mcg)

Foods: Leafy greens, citrus fruits, beans, peas, breakfast cereals fortified with B vitamins.

3. Calcium

Benefits: Builds strong bones and teeth; supports the circulatory, muscular and nervous systems.

Daily Amount: 1,000 mcg; pregnant teens need 1,300 mcg

Foods: Broccoli, kale, dairy products, fortified fruit juices and breakfast cereals.

4. Magnesium

Benefits: Builds strong bones and teeth; supports the circulatory, muscular and nervous systems.

Daily Amount: 1,000 mcg; pregnant teens need 1,300 mcg

Foods: Broccoli, kale, dairy products, fortified fruit juices and breakfast cereals.

5. Vitamin D

Benefits: Builds strong teeth and bones.

Daily Amount: 600 international units (IU)

Foods: Eggs, salmon and other fatty fish, fortified milk and orange juice.

6. Iron

Benefits: Builds strong teeth and bones.

Daily Amount: 600 international units (IU)

Foods: Eggs, salmon and other fatty fish, fortified milk and orange juice.

Foods to Avoid

Harmful bacteria such as E. coli, Salmonella and Listeria can be found in:

  • Raw or undercooked meat
  • Sushi
  • Deli meats
  • Raw eggs
  • Soft cheeses

It’s also a good idea to avoid caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine can reduce the blood supply to your baby, which inhibits growth. Alcohol increases the risk of miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD).

For more information on nourishing and delivering a healthy baby, schedule an appointment with our office.

Related Blog Articles

Foods to Avoid in Pregnancy

Five Steps to a Successful Birth Plan

Stages of Labor & Knowing What to Expect

Northline Women's Health Center Locations:

15675 Northline Road

Southgate, MI 48195

(734) 282-3600
(734) 282-3603 - Fax

23050 West Road, Suite 210

Brownstown Twp., MI 48183

(734) 362-7000
(734) 362-7077 - Fax