Most women know that, once they become pregnant, supplementing any nutritional deficiencies in your diet is almost as important as your pregnancy diet plan. In fact, while you should investigate a prenatal vitamin to take on a daily basis, you should also your diet so your body depends less upon a multivitamin to make up for any gaps in your eating plan.

The most important nutrients you should take during pregnancy are folic acid, calcium, iron, and omega fatty acids. Fortunately, there are delicious foods to eat while pregnant that help supply your body with these nutrients, to help your developing baby.

Why Folic Acid is So Important for any Pregnancy Diet Plan

Folic acid is extremely important to the development and well-being of your fetus. Folic acid helps your baby's spinal cord (also known as the neural tube) and brain develop properly, decreasing the risk of birth defects such as spina bifida, mental retardation, and paralysis.

In fact, it's a good idea to begin upping your increase of folic acid as you are trying to conceive, as most neural tube defects occur in the first 28 days of pregnancy. The recommended daily dosage of folic acid before pregnancy is 400 micrograms, but after you become pregnant you should increase that amount to 600 micrograms.

Some prenatal vitamins have as much as 800 micrograms of folic acid. You should also increase your intake of foods that contain folic acid naturally, such as green leafy vegetables, nuts, beans, and citrus fruits.


Calcium is essential for preserving your own bone density, as you baby grows inside of you. If you aren't getting enough calcium, your body will leach it from your own bones to supply it to your growing baby.

So it's crucial for your own health, as well as the health and development of your baby, to increase your intake of calcium while pregnant. Most people think that dairy products are the only way you can increase your consumption of calcium.

But you can actually eat foods that are higher in absorbable calcium by focusing on these foods: leafy greens, green beans, black beans, chick peas, almonds, hazlenuts, salmon, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, okra, and oranges.

You Don't Have to Eat Meat to Get Enough Iron

Iron is beneficial during pregnancy because it helps the blood carry oxygen to both mother and baby. Increasing the amount of hemoglobin in your blood stream is crucial since it plays such an important role in oxygen supply.

Before pregnancy, your body needs 15mg, but after pregnancy you should increase your daily intake to 30-50mg. This is important especially after the 20th week of pregnancy through the end of your third trimester.

Iron is the one element that a fetus cannot produce on its own, so she is entirely dependent on you for her supply. Foods that are high in iron include lean, natural beef, green vegetables, lentils, beans and chickpeas, and pumpkin seeds.

Omega Fatty Acids and Your Pregnancy Diet Plan

Omega 3 fatty acids aren't present in most prenatal vitamins, so you must make the effort to increase your intake during pregnancy. Omega-3s are not only essential to the growth and development of your baby, but studies show that mothers who increase their intake during pregnancy have babies with longer attention spans well into their second year of life.

Omega-3s build your baby's brain, form her retinas, and develop her nervous system. They are essential for mommies, too, as they help prevent preeclampsia, and minimize the risk of preterm labor and postpartum depression.

You can increase your intake of Omega-3s by taking Omega-3 fish oil supplements or by eating oily fish such as herring, sardines, anchovies, and salmon. These fish are also low in mercury, so you can safely enjoy up to two 6-ounce servings per week. You really can have plenty of seafood on a good pregnancy diet plan!

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