Pregnancy diet: Focus on these essential nutrients

A healthy pregnancy diet will promote your baby’s growth and development. Understand which nutrients you need most and where to find them.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

During pregnancy, the basic principles of healthy eating remain the same — get plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats. However, a few nutrients in a pregnancy diet deserve special attention. Here’s what tops the list.

Folate and folic acid — Prevent brain and spinal cord birth problems

Folate is a B vitamin that helps prevent serious problems with the developing brain and spinal cord (neural tube defects). The synthetic form of folate found in supplements and fortified foods is known as folic acid. Folic acid supplementation has been shown to decrease the risk of premature birth and having a low birth weight baby.

How much you need: 400 micrograms (mcg) a day