Pregnancy Nutrition a simple guide

Pregnancy Nutrition – the basics

While pregnancy nutrition has absolutely nothing to do with maternity wear, it has everything to do with feeling your best and the side effect of that is obviously- looking fabulous through the journey of your pregnancy.

It is a very special and important time in a woman’s life, filled with joy, anticipation, and the responsibility of nurturing a growing life within. One of the most important parts of this journey is making sure you do your utmost to include optimal nutrition for both you and your growing baby!

Essential Nutrients needed during pregnancy

Good, high quality nutrition during pregnancy improves your pregnancy and post partum experience. Obviously, good real food ensures the health and development of your baby too. Quality pregnancy Nutrition decreases the risk of health risks for you and decreases the risk of developmental issues in utero. Very poor maternal nutrition has been associated with abnormal fetal growth patterns, including low birthweight and fetal growth restriction. During pregnancy, it’s important to eat a healthy, balanced diet which gives you better energy and health and your baby gets all the nutrients he or she needs to grow and develop. Poor diet during pregnancy can even influence your baby’s health all the way into adulthood. Don’t stress about it, but do your best to consume as many key nutrient rich foods during your pregnancy as possible.

  • Folic acid
  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Protein
  • Vitamin D

Below are foods rich in the top essential nutrients that you and baby need for optimum health. You’ll notice some foods fall into a few categories – yay it makes things easier!

Folic acid

For you – Folic acid is a vitamin that every cell in your body needs for healthy growth.

For Baby – Important in preventing neural tube defects.

  1. Broccoli.
  2. Brussels sprouts.
  3. Leafy green vegetables, such as cabbage, kale, spring greens and spinach.
  4. Peas.
  5. Chickpeas and kidney beans.
  6. Breakfast cereals with added folic acid.


For you – Vital for the production of hemoglobin and preventing anemia

For Baby – Important not only in carrying oxygen but also to the catalytic activity of a variety of enzymes. In baby, it is vital to the synthesis of hemoglobin and in brain development.

  1. Red meat, pork and poultry.
  2. Seafood.
  3. Beans.
  4. Dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach.
  5. Dried fruit, such as raisins and apricots.
  6. Iron-fortified cereals, breads and pastas.
  7. Peas.


For you – Helps prevent cramps, joint pain and pelvic pain during pregnancy. If you don’t get enough calcium in your diet, your body will take what your baby needs. 

For Baby – Calcium helps your baby grow a healthy heart, nerves, bones and muscles as well as develop a normal heart rhythm and blood-clotting abilities.

  1. Milk, cheese and other dairy foods.
  2. Green leafy vegetables – such as curly kale, okra but not spinach (spinach does contain high calcium but the body cannot digest it all)
  3. Soya drinks with added calcium.
  4. Bread and anything made with fortified flour.

Omega-3 fatty acids

For you – Can lower your risk of giving birth too early, and of experiencing postpartum depression after you have your baby

For Baby – Important for fetal brain and eye/retina development. Yip it gets fishy here, but there are plant options too!

  1. Salmon
  2. Sardines
  3. Walnuts
  4. Flaxseeds
  5. Chia seeds
  6. Hemp seeds
  7. Edamame


For you –  Better breast and uterine tissue growth during pregnancy

For Baby – Building blocks for the baby’s growth. Increased blood volume and growth of the maternal tissues require high amounts of protein

  1. Lean Beef
  2. Chicken
  3. Salmon
  4. Eggs
  5. Peanut Butter / other nut butters
  6. Nuts
  7. Low-Fat Cottage Cheese
  8. Lentils.

Vitamin D

For you – Reduce the risks for small-for-gestational-age, preeclampsia, preterm birth, and gestational diabetes. Vital for bone health and immune function

For Baby – Reduces risk of disordered skeletal homeostasis, congenital rickets, and fractures in the newborn.

  1. Oily fish : including salmon, sardines.
  2. Egg yolks
  3. Red meat
  4. Enriched breakfast cereals
  5. Plant milks
  6. Oranges
  7. Mushrooms
  8. Get out into the SUNSHINE

The Optimum way to achieve a healthy, happy pregnancy is to have a variety of fresh foods. Reduce sugars, caffeine and unhealthy fats. Eat lots of fresh and raw fruit and veg. Whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Yes it may mean even more trips to the bathroom but its important for you both!

Your doc may suggest vitamin supplements, think of it as insurance. Ensuring you both get what you need on days your appetite isn’t what it should be. Nausea and morning sickness can affect your hunger and a vitamin supplement will aid optimum nutrients.

Morning sickness tip!

Ginger & lemon