Nutrition During Pregnancy

This post was sure to show up sooner or later, since I'm a crazed, carrot-eating, exercising, no-McDonald's kind of gal. Well, I was... This pregnancy has really thrown me for a loop and made me reevaluate my priorities.

I'm going to share my experience below, but you can skip to the good part, I won't be offended. Promise.

Before we decided to have a baby, I was eating SUPER healthy and exercising as well. When I found out I was pregnant I kept eating the same way, but added green smoothies to my daily routine and basked in the satisfaction of my healthy eating.

Then one day it hit me: I was around the 7 or 8 week mark and I looked at my bag of homemade trail mix (almonds, dried fruit, pumpkin seeds) and I felt like throwing up. Just the thought of eating almonds made me sick to my stomach.
Then, I started throwing up for reals, and I soon found out that raw vegetables, fruits, and nuts were not very pleasant the second time around--way to chunky and acidic (TMI?). Also, the thought of cooking made me sick. So I ended up buying lots of (semi) healthy frozen dinners. I craved pizza, tacos, and Cream of Wheat. Healthy, right?

This was all very discouraging to me. Especially since my prenatal vitamins made me even more sick (I soon realized that they made my morning sickness worse). I was so worried that my poor little embryo would die of malnutrition. I kept telling myself that I would start eating healthier when I felt better. At around 13 weeks when it didn't start getting better I decided that I would just have to suck it up and eat healthy. If I waited until I "felt better" it may be too late. Since it's been so hard to take my supplements I have had to try and make my meals packed full of essential nutrients. I researched the most important vitamins and minerals for pregnancy, as well as the foods that contain them, and started making healthier meals forced Aaron to cook healthier meals.

I've compiled my research into this little list, and for the rest of the pregnancy I'm going to post recipes that include at least one of the following nutrients. I'm hoping this will not only help you pregnant readers, but also motivate me to be more diligent in finding healthy recipes :)

Pregnant women need at least 1,300 milligrams of calcium a day. Your baby needs it for healthy bones and teeth. Calcium also helps dilate your blood vessels, increasing oxygen delivery. 
Where you can find it: Yogurt, milk, cheddar cheese, calcium-fortified foods like soy milk, juices, breads, cereals, dark green leafy vegetables, canned fish with bones.

This plays such an important role in baby’s development that doctors recommend taking supplements the moment you  are planning to conceive. It helps prevent neural tube defects and affects DNA development and enzyme function.
Where you can find it: Oranges, orange juice, strawberries, green leafy vegetables, spinach, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, fortified cereals, peas, pasta, beans, nuts.

Iron is important in creating red blood cells, and has been known to lower the risk for pre-term delivery and lower birth weight. Doctors often prescribe higher levels of iron supplements for pregnant women who have diabetes mellitus. It can prevent anemia and fatigue.
Where you can find it: Beef, pork, dried beans, spinach, dried fruits, wheat germ, oatmeal or grains fortified with iron.

This Vitamin will help your baby develop healthy bones, skin and eyesight.
Where you can find it: Liver, milk, eggs, carrots, spinach, green and yellow vegetables, broccoli, potatoes, pumpkin, yellow fruits, cantaloupe.

Pregnant women are more prone to infections, because hormones suppress the immune system. Vitamin C can help boost your body’s defenses, so you protect yourself (and your baby!) from disease. The body also needs Vitamin C in order to process iron.
Where you can find it: Citrus fruits, bell peppers, green beans, strawberries, papaya, potatoes, broccoli, tomatoes.

Vitamin BI plays a big role in the development of your baby’s brain and organs (including the kidneys, heart and liver). Vitamin B5 helps form red blood cells, and is needed to metabolize protein, carbohydrates and fat. Vitamin B12 is crucial for a properly working nervous system. And Vitamin B6 has been known to ease morning sickness!
Where you can find it: whole grain cereals and pasta, nuts, chicken, beef, pork, eggs, potatoes, spinach, soybeans, and milk.

The body needs vitamin D in order to use calcium and phosphorus.
Where you can find it: milk and fatty fish, sunshine.

This vitamin not only helps your baby’s muscle development, it can also help you achieve that “pregnancy glow.” It’s a wonder-vitamin for the skin, and you need it now more than ever: pregnancy hormones can trigger acne outbreaks, and your ever-expanding tummy puts you at risk for stretch marks.
Where you can find it: Vegetable oil, wheat germ, nuts, spinach, fortified cereals.

Protein is extremely important in the production of cells and amino acids. Which you'll need to create a little human being!
Where to find it: meat, poultry, eggs, dairy products, veggie burgers, beans, legumes, nuts.

Zinc helps in enzyme and insulin production, which your body needs in larger amounts during pregnancy.
Where to find it: Red meats, poultry, beans, nuts, whole grains, fortified cereals, oysters, dairy products

Your metabolism goes up during pregnancy and your heart works harder and pumps blood faster. With all that going on, you need more energy—and carbohydrates are still the best source. However, get “healthy carbs” like whole wheat or brown rice. These release energy more slowly and efficiently and are less likely to lead to gestational diabetes.
Where to find it:  whole grains such as wheat, quinoa, millet, popcorn (air-popped), brown rice, etc.



  1. love this, just pinned it to my baby board because i know i'll definitely be using this sooner or later! i thin it's great to find nutrients in your food instead of simply relying on vitamins. bravo! and thanks for doing the research! i'm looking forward to your recipes! =]

  2. Thank you ladies! I'm glad that it's helpful :)