Prenatal Nutrition

pregnancy-nutrition-guide

As a healthcare provider, you play an essential role in helping expectant mothers choose the right nutrition for themselves and their developing babies. Healthy eating choices and adequate nutrient intake during pregnancy can go a long way in supporting a baby’s growth and development.

A healthy pregnancy starts with a healthy diet. Expectant mothers should choose foods with a dense nutrient per calorie ratio. Download a printable sample menu demonstrating a balanced daily pregnancy diet.
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Names Benefits Good Sources 
Folic acid
(folate or folacin) 
  • Helps with nervous system development
  • Reduces the risk of neural tube defects such as spina bifida
  • Oranges and orange juice
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Avocado
  • Fortified cereals
  • Peas and beans
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Wheat germ
  • Nuts
Vitamin A
  • Helps with baby's immune system, vision, bone, and skin development
  • Sweet potato, carrot, pumpkin and other orange vegetables
  • Kale, turnip greens and other dark green leafy vegetables
  • Mange and other orange fruits
  • Beef liver
Vitamin B12
  • Works with folate to produce red blood cells
  • Helps the body use fatty acids
  • Lean meat (beef), fish (salmon, low in mercury), and poultry
  • Eggs, milk and other dairy products
Vitamin C
  • Helps form collagen, which helps cells bond
  • Helps absorb iron when consumed with iron-rich plant foods
  • Cabbage, bell peppers (red), broccoli, potatoes, tomatoes, brussels sprouts, raw spinach
  • Melons, papaya, kiwi, mango, berries, oranges, grapefruit, and other citrus fruits and juices
Vitamin D
  • Helps with bone development
  • Helps the body absorb calcium
  • Milk and egg yolks
  • Fatty fish (low in mercury)
Vitamin K
  • Promotes bone development
  • Assists the body with blood clotting
  • Dark green leafy vegetables
Names Benefits Good Sources 
Calcium
3 calcium-rich foods/day
  • Helps with the baby's bone and teeth development
  • Aids in baby's growth
  • Helps with muscle and nerve regulation
  • Reduce the risk of developing pregnancy-related high blood pressure
  • Milk, yogurt, cheese, and other dairy products
  • Kale, broccoli, bok choy
  • Calcium-fortified juiced and soy drinks
  • Tofu made with calcium sulfate
Chromium
  • Regulates blood sugar levels
  • Stimulates protein production for tissue development

Prenatal supplements

Copper
  • Helps the baby's heart and circulatory development
  • Maintains healthy hair and skin color

Prenatal supplements

Fluoride
  • Bone and tooth enamel development

Prenatal supplements

Iodine
  • Regulates metabolism
  • Supports healthy brain development
  • Iodized salt
  • Milk
  • Prenatal supplements
Iron
  • Helps carry oxygen through the blood to organs, tissues, and the baby
  • May help avoid tiredness and risk of anemia
  • Red meat
  • Liver
  • Enriched whole grain cereal and breads
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Legumes
  • Eggs
  • Prenatal Supplements
Magnesium
  • Helps regulate energy metabolism, blood sugar levels, nerve transmissions, and muscle contractions
 Prenatal supplements
Manganese
  • Helps regulate enzymes in the body
 Prenatal supplements
Molybdenum
  • Helps with enzyme development
 Prenatal supplements
Phosphorous
  • Helps with bone development and energy metabolism
Prenatal supplements 
Selenium
  • Protects red blood cells and cell membranes
  • Helps maintain the immune system
 Prenatal supplements
Zinc
  • Helps with enzyme development 
  • Beef, lamb, turkey
  • Eggs and milk
  • Shellfish (low in mercury)
  • Whole grains
  • Nuts
  • Wheat germ
  • Tofu
  • Peanut butter

Names Benefits Good Sources 
ALA 
(alpha linoleic acid)
  • Supports brain health and normal growth and development
  • Canola, soybean, flaxseed, perilla, and walnut oils
  • Dietary supplements containing flaxseed oil
 ARA (arachidonic acid)
  • Supports the baby's eye development
  • Vegetable oils
  • Nuts
  • Olives
  • Fatty fish (low in mercury)
DHA 
(docosahexaenoic acid)
  • Supports brain health and normal growth and development
  • Vegetable oils
  • Nuts
  • Olives
  • Fatty fish (low in mercury)
Names Benefits Good Sources 
Carbohydrates
  • Gives the baby energy to help support the baby's growth and development
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole-grain breads and pasta
Fiber
  • Helps support healthy digestion
  • May help alleviate constipation
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Dried peas and beans
  • Nuts and seeds
Names Benefits Good Sources 
Fluids
8-12 glasses/day
  • Expands blood volume, which ensure the baby gets oxygen and nutrients
  • Can help maintain healthy digestion
  • Water
  • Skim or nonfat milk
  • 100% fruit or vegetable juice
Names Benefits Good Sources 
Protein
  • Helps with the baby's muscle, ligament, hair, fingernail, bone, brain tissue and blood cell development
  • Lean meat
  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Dried beans
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Cheese
  • Nuts


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