This vitamin is vital for chemical reactions involving proteins. It also participates in the formation of red blood cells, antibodies and insulin for both you and your growing baby. During pregnancy, your daily requirement jumps to 2.2 milligrams, so be sure to eat plenty of lean meats, poultry, fish, legumes, green, leafy vegetables, whole-grain cereals and bananas.
Other vital nutrients There are a few other vitamins and minerals crucial to a healthy pregnancy and baby.
- You need 15 milligrams of zinc, which you can get from lean meats, seafood, whole grains, dried beans and peas.
- B12 is a special concern for vegetarians since it is found only in animal food — lean meats, low-fat dairy products and eggs. You need 2.2 milligrams a day.
- Citrus fruits, broccoli, cauliflower, green peppers and strawberries are sources for the 70 milligrams of vitamin C you need each day.
- Fiber is another special concern during pregnancy, especially if you are regularly constipated; you need between 20 and 35 grams, but shoot for the high end of that range.
- Your demand for fluids increases because of your expanded blood volume. Make sure you drink eight
- 8-ounce glasses of water, club soda, vegetable juice, fruit juice or low-fat milk each day. Avoid coffee, tea, soft drinks, diet colas and other artificially sweetened drinks.
- Go ahead and dig into fresh fruits, veggie concoctions, whole-grain breads and cereals, low-fat dairy and lean sources of protein. Remember, as long as you eat smart and stay on top of your nutritional needs, you and your growing baby both will reap the benefits of a healthful diet.
Here’s a look
at the general daily requirements for pregnant women.
| Food Group
|| Daily Servings
|| Sample servings
|| 1 slice bread, 1/2 small bagel, 1 serving cereal (serving size varies by brand; check package) or 1/2 cup cooked rice or pasta
|| 1 medium fruit, 1 cup berries or melon,
or 1/2 cup fruit juice
|| 1 cup raw, leafy veggies or 1/2 cup cooked veggies
|| 1 cup milk, 1 cup yogurt, 3/4 cup cottage cheese or 1/2 ounces of hard cheese
(Try to stick with low-fat varieties.)
|| 2–3 ounces lean meat, 2 eggs (limit to 2 times per week), 2/3 cup tofu or 2–3 ounces of fish or poultry
|| 8 ounces of water, seltzer, club soda, vegetable juice, fruit juice or low-fat milk
| As long as you are gaining weight appropriately (according to your doctor), a few treats a week won’t hurt you.