Women who meet their nutrient needs by eating healthy before becoming pregnant can lower the health risks for themselves and their future baby.
During pregnancy, your body will need more nutrients. You can get ready right now by choosing healthy types and portions of foods.
Learn more about taking a multivitamin with folic acid in it before pregnancy here.
Your body needs more iron during pregnancy. Building your body’s iron stores before pregnancy can improve your health and the health of a future baby. Low iron (anemia) during pregnancy is linked to lower weight gain and preterm and low birth weight babies.
Your body absorbs iron from meat, poultry, fish and shellfish better than iron from other foods. The best sources of iron are beef, pork, wild game, chicken, lamb, fish, sardines, shrimp, oysters and mussels. Other foods with iron are legumes, such as lentils, beans, and chickpeas, tofu, whole grains and fortified grains such as fortified cereals or breads.
Eat foods with iron at the same time as you eat foods with vitamin C. This helps your body absorb more iron. Foods high in vitamin C include oranges, strawberries, tomatoes, broccoli or bell peppers. You could eat bean chili with tomatoes or an orange with cereal and milk.
To learn more about healthy eating during pregnancy, visit Healthy Parents, Healthy Children.
If you’re following a way of eating that limits certain foods (e.g, celiac diet, multiple food allergies, vegan diet) talk to a registered dietitian about your nutrition needs.