When you’re pregnant, you experience many changes. And as your body changes, so do its demand for nutrients. You need to get enough nutrients to support both yourself and your baby’s growth.

Simple steps for eating healthy throughout your pregnancy

  1. When you eat a healthy, balanced diet, you and your baby both get the nutrition you need.
  2. By eating a variety of healthy foods and taking prenatal vitamins, you should be able to get all the nutrients you need during pregnancy. Taking your vitamins with a small meal or snack will help you tolerate and absorb them better.
  3. Any extra calories should be from nutritious foods, such as lean meats, low-fat or fat-free dairy products, fruits, vegetables and whole grain bread and cereals.

Daily meal planning guidelines


To make sure you stay adequately hydrated and to prevent constipation, hemorrhoids, and urinary tract or bladder infections, it’s important that you drink plenty of water while you’re pregnant.

Aim for twelve (12) 8-ounce glasses of fluids each day, and try to choose water or low-fat milk whenever possible. You’ll need more fluid when you exercise when the weather is hot and if you’re ill with a fever. If your urine is colorless or light yellow, you know you’re drinking enough water.


Some studies show a relationship between excessive caffeine intake and an increased risk of miscarriage, especially in the first trimester. Because of that, some providers recommend limiting caffeine to no more than 200 milligrams a day during early pregnancy. The caffeine content of some popular beverages is as follows:


  • Pregnant women age 19 or older should get at least 1,000 mg of calcium each day, while those age 18 or younger need at least 1,300 mg each day. Because nutritional needs are high during pregnancy, your provider may prescribe certain supplements as a safeguard. However, this doesn’t mean you’re off the hook for eating right! Most health experts agree that it’s best to get calcium from food, and most name milk and milk products as their first choices. Why? Just look what comes along with the package: protein, vitamins A, D (if fortified), and B, riboflavin, potassium, phosphorus and niacin.
  • Putting the clamp on high blood pressure – Pregnancy-induced high blood pressure can happen in 10% to 20% of all pregnancies and, if not corrected, may lead to preeclampsia—a potentially life-threatening disorder of late pregnancy. If you can boost your calcium intake to 1,200 to 1,500 mg/day, you’re a step ahead in reducing your risk of pregnancy-induced high blood pressure and preeclampsia.
  • Calcium-rich foods – Milk and milk products are the richest sources of calcium – one 8-ounce glass of milk provides 300 mg of calcium. As a mom-to-be, you can meet your calcium needs by drinking three (3) cups of nonfat or low-fat milk a day or by consuming other calcium-containing foods. Listed below are common sources of calcium and calcium counts.
Food Serving size Calcium (mg)
Plain, low-fat yogurt 8 ounces 415
Part-skim mozzarella cheese 1-½ ounces 333
Sardines with bones in oil 3 ounces 325
Cheddar cheese 1-½ ounces 307
Calcium-fortified orange juice 6 ounces 261
Canned salmon with bones 3 ounces 181
Cottage cheese from 1% milk 1 cup 138
Soft serve frozen yogurt ½ cup 103
Fresh, cooked kale 1 cup 94
Vanilla ice cream ½ cup 84
Ready-to-eat chocolate pudding 4 ounces 55
6-inch corn tortilla 1 46
Raw broccoli ½ cup 21
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture Nutrient Database