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Health & Pregnancy

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Your Healthy Pregnancy Diet: Top Nutrients

WebMD Medical Reference

Eating a healthy, balanced diet while you're pregnant protects you and your growing baby. Although you should take a prenatal vitamin as insurance, choosing the right foods will help give you the complex mix of nutrients that pregnant women need. Aim for meals high in these important nutrients:


Baby Benefits: Builds bones and teeth. (Your growing baby takes the calcium she needs from your body, so to keep your bones and teeth healthy, you need to get enough to replace that amount.)

Your Benefits: Protects your bone density. It may also help prevent high blood pressure while you're pregnant.

Pregnancy RDA: 1,000 milligrams (mg); don't exceed 2,500 mg

Best Food Sources:

  • Yogurt, plain, low-fat, 1 cup -- 415 mg
  • Yogurt, low-fat fruit flavored, 1 cup -- 345 mg
  • Milk, plain or flavored, 1 cup -- about 300 mg
  • Orange juice, calcium-added, 1 cup -- 300 mg
  • Cheddar cheese, 1 oz -- 204 mg
  • Tofu, firm, prepared with calcium sulfate and magnesium chloride, 1/4 block -- 163 mg
  • Cottage cheese, 2% milk fat, 1 cup -- 156 mg


Baby Benefits: Helps prevent problems in the spinal cord and brain, called neural tube defects, and enhances brain development.

Your Benefits: Builds strong bones and may help prevent high blood pressure.

Pregnancy RDA: 450 mg; don't exceed 3,500 mg

Best Food Sources:

  • Egg, 1 cooked -- 272 mg
  • Pork tenderloin, 3 oz cooked -- 103 mg
  • Atlantic cod, 3 oz cooked -- 84 mg
  • Ground beef, 3 oz cooked -- 83 mg
  • Salmon, 3 oz cooked -- 65 mg
  • Chicken, 3 oz cooked -- 65 mg
  • Broccoli or cauliflower, 1 1/4 cup cooked -- 40 mg

Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA)

DHA is one of the omega-3 fatty acids.

Baby Benefits: Helps boost brain development and vision.

Your Benefits: May reduce your risk of heart disease in the future.

Pregnancy RDA: 300 mg

Best Food Sources:

  • Coho salmon, farmed, 3 oz cooked -- 740 mg
  • Blue crab, 3 oz cooked -- 196 mg
  • Canned light tuna, drained, 3 oz -- 190 mg
  • Catfish, 3 oz cooked -- 116 mg
  • Fortified eggs -- 85 mg to 200 mg
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