Eating a healthy diet is always important, and when you are pregnant, it is even more important because what you eat is your baby's primary source of nutrients.

Many women, however, do not get adequate iron, folate, calcium, vitamin D, or protein. So, it's important for you to increase the amount of food you consume with these nutrients when you are pregnant.

With a balanced diet that contains lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and proteins, most women will satisfy their increased needs. You should aim to consume a range of foods from these essential food classes, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). If you do, all the nutrients you need for a successful pregnancy are likely to be received.

For a good pregnancy, you and your baby require these key nutrients:

Vitamin A

For good skin, eyesight, and bone growth, you need this vitamin. Among the best sources include carrots, dark, leafy greens, and sweet potatoes. You need 770 micrograms a day during your pregnancy.

Vitamin C

It promotes healthy gums, skin, and bones and allows iron to be absorbed by the body. Citrus fruit, broccoli, tomatoes, and strawberries are healthy sources. You need 85 mg a day during your pregnancy.

Vitamin D

It helps your body absorb calcium to help develop the bones and teeth of your baby. Exposure to sunshine, fortified milk, and fatty fish, such as salmon, are among the sources. You need 600 international units (IUs) a day during your pregnancy.

Vitamin B6

It helps create red blood cells and helps to use protein, fat, and carbohydrates in the body. In beef, liver, pork, whole-grain cereals, and bananas, you can find vitamin B6. You need 1.9 mg a day during your pregnancy.

Vitamin B12

It helps to build red blood cells and to maintain the nervous system. Only in animal products can you find this vitamin. Among good sources include liver, meat, fish, poultry, and milk. You need 2.6 micrograms a day during your pregnancy.


It helps develop healthy teeth and bones. Milk, cheese, yogurt, and sardines are the main sources. You need 1,000 mg a day during pregnancy.


It helps red blood cells carry oxygen to your baby. Lean red meat, dried beans, peas, and iron-fortified cereals are sources of this. You need 27 mg a day during your pregnancy.

Folic Acid

It decreases the risk of neural tube defects (a birth defect of the brain and spinal cord), and an important B vitamin in the production of blood and protein. Green, leafy vegetables, liver, orange juice, legumes (beans, peas, lentils), and nuts are found to contain folic acid.

To decrease the chance of neural tube defects, you must get at least 400 micrograms of folic acid daily before birth and within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Doctors prescribe that you get 600 micrograms daily during pregnancy.

Know that supplements do not replace a balanced diet. Some physicians prescribe that in addition to maintaining a nutritious diet, pregnant women take a prenatal vitamin and mineral supplement each day.

Taking a supplement means that enough essential nutrients, including folic acid and iron, are ingested by you and your baby. But don't overdo it. It can be dangerous for you and your baby to take too much.