The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
Read more »
Fats Fat adds calories without much nutritional clout and should be limited to no more than 30 percent of your total calories. Include an occasional serving of fish, which contains omega-3 fatty acids needed for the development of your baby’s brain and eyes.
Daily requirement: no more than 73 grams for a 2,200-calorie diet and 83 grams for a 2,500-calorie diet.
Vitamin A This fat-soluble vitamin (meaning it should be taken with a small amount of fat to be best utilized) helps maintain the immune system and contributes to cell and tissue growth.
Best sources: carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, collards, apricots, mangoes, cantaloupe, peaches and fortified milk.
Daily requirement: 4,000 IU.
Vitamin D This fat-soluble vitamin helps build strong bones for both you and your baby by aiding in absorption of calcium and its deposition into bones.
Best dietary sources: fortified milk (not milk products), salmon, sardines, fortified cereals and egg yolks.
Daily requirement: 400 IU.
Vitamin E This vitamin helps protect tissues from free-radical damage, which undermines health.
Best sources: wheat germ, safflower oil, nuts and spinach.
Daily requirement: 10 milligrams.
Vitamin K This vitamin aids in blood clotting and bone formation.
Best sources: dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, Romaine lettuce, kale, collards and Swiss chard.
Daily requirement: 65 micrograms.
Vitamins B1 and B2 and niacin These three vitamins are essential for converting food into energy. They also aid in digestion and are essential for the normal growth of your baby’s body and brain.
Best sources: whole grains, wheat germ, peanuts, green peas, dark green leafy vegetables, lean pork, cooked dried beans and peas, extra-lean meats and nonfat milk products.
Daily requirements: 1.5 milligrams B1, 1.6 milligrams B2, 17 milligrams niacin.
Vitamin B6 This vitamin aids in the production of neurotransmitters (chemicals that relay messages between neurons) and proteins for new cells.
Best sources: chicken, fish, extra-lean meat, avocado, potatoes, bananas, whole grains, wheat germ, nuts, seeds, and cooked dried beans and peas.
Daily requirement: 2.2 milligrams.
Folic acid This B vitamin is essential for normal cell division and prevention of birth defects in the developing fetus.
Best sources: dark green leafy vegetables, asparagus, broccoli, orange juice, wheat germ, cooked dried beans and peas, and fortified grains.
Daily requirement: 600 micrograms (4 milligrams for women with a family history of neural-tube defects); most prenatal vitamins supply 400 micrograms, and the rest are easily supplied in your daily diet.