Vitamins and minerals are important during pregnancy but some need special attention, especially
those that promote cell division and the formation of new life. A varied and balanced approach to
eating is the best way to get the vitamins and minerals you and your baby need.
Folate is important before conception and during the first three months. It is especially
critical for lowering a newborn’s risk for neural tube, or spinal cord, damage.
Iron needs increase during pregnancy by about 50 percent because iron is essential in
making the component of blood that carries oxygen throughout your body, including to the
placenta for your baby.
Vitamin C helps your body absorb the needed iron.
Calcium is needs for two reasons: your baby’s developing bones and preserving your own
bone mass. Without enough calcium, your body will draw calcium from your bones to build
your baby’s bones.
Vitamin D helps your body absorb the calcium you need during pregnancy.
There is no set amount for all women.
Because every pregnant woman is
unique, your doctor will advise you
about the weight-gain range that’s right
for you. That advice depends on:
Your weight before pregnancy
If you’re expecting multiples.
Excessive weight gain during
pregnancy can lead to a difficult
delivery, back and joint problems,
gestational diabetes and postpartum
When women are pregnant, their risk of developing food borne illness increases and even a mild
case of food poisoning can have serious consequences. Protect yourself and your unborn infant
from food borne illness by practicing good food safety habits.
Do not eat meats, poultry, seafood and eggs that are raw or undercooked. Also, unpasteurized
dairy products like raw milk and some imported cheeses can pose safety threats to pregnant
Pregnant and nursing women can eat fish, but not long-lived fish — such as swordfish, shark, king
mackerel and tilefish — because of the methyl mercury they may contain. Pregnant women should
also pass on raw seafood.
Gestational diabetes is a health problem for
approximately 4% of pregnant women, though its
cause is unknown.
Risk factors include a family history of diabetes,
being obese, a problem pregnancy and being over
age 40. Most pregnant women are routinely tested
for gestational diabetes at about 24 to 28 weeks.
The risk for developing diabetes later in life is
higher among women who have had gestational
But don’t fear: Even if you have gestational
diabetes, you can deliver a healthy baby. It’s
important for you and your doctor to monitor it