Eat Right

What to Eat

Even if you think you have good eating habits, it can be very confusing to make the transition from milligrams of nutrients to the food you put on your table during pregnancy. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has tried to make it simpler by translating nutrients that are important during pregnancy into specific food choices. 1


NUTRIENT (Dietary Reference Intake, DRI)



Calcium (1000 milligrams)

Helps build strong bones and teeth

Milk, cheese, yogurt, sardines

Iron (27 milligrams)

Helps red blood cells deliver oxygen to your baby

Lean red meat, dried beans and peas, iron-fortified cereals, prune juice

Vitamin A (770 micrograms)

Forms healthy skin and helps eyesight; helps with bone growth

Carrots; dark, leafy greens; sweet potatoes

Vitamin C (85 milligrams)

Promotes healthy gums, teeth, and bones; helps your body absorb iron

Citrus fruit, broccoli, tomatoes, strawberries

Vitamin D (200 international units; some experts recommend 400 international units during pregnancy)

Helps build your baby's bones and teeth

Vitamin-D-fortified milk, fatty fish such as salmon (sunlight exposure is also a good source)

Vitamin B6 (1.9 milligrams)

Helps form red blood cells; helps body use protein, fat, and carbohydrates

Beef, liver, pork, ham; whole-grain cereals; bananas

Vitamin B12 (2.6 micrograms)

Maintains nervous system; needed to form red blood cells

Liver, meat, fish, poultry, milk (found only in animal foods—vegetarians who do not eat any animal foods should take a supplement)

Folate (600 micrograms)

Needed to produce blood and protein; helps some enzymes function

Green, leafy vegetables; liver; orange juice; legumes and nuts


1. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Nutrition during pregnancy. ACOG Educational Pamphlet, (Pregnancy) AP001. 2012.