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Nutrient Rich Foods for Pregnant Women

Protein Foods:

  • Meat (hormone free) - avoid heavy meat consumption if possible because their high phosphorus level may interfere with calcium utilization.
  • Fish - avoid shellfish; salmon or similar fish is preferred except those that come from contaminated waters
  • Poultry (free range if possible)
  • Eggs (with extra Omega fatty acids and free range if possible)
  • Dairy foods (growth hormone free if possible), goat milk, or enriched nut/grain "milks" like rice/soy/almond/oat. These enriched products often have more calcium per ounce than cow's milk. Some suggest that consuming cow products (milk/cheese/yogurt) in the 3rd trimester can cause sensitivities to cow's milk in the infant
  • Nuts & Seeds - esp. almonds, walnuts, sunflower, flax (high in essential fatty acids needed for brain development) and macadamias (good source of fat calories). Also try them ground (i.e. almond butter). Avoid eating if you cannot drink at the same time and are vomiting.
  • Whole Grains - esp. brown rice, millet and quinoaExternal Link
  • Legumes & Tofu (any tolerated)
  • Protein Shakes (or liquid meals: Ensure)

Calcium Rich Foods (esp. important during the 2nd half of pregnancy)

  • Fish - esp. salmon
  • Dairy products or nut/grain milks
  • Whole grains - esp. quinoa and brown rice
  • Nuts and seeds - esp. almonds
  • Leafy greens - esp. kale and chard

Iron, Folic Acid and Zinc Rich Foods

  • Meats - esp. lean beef, lamb, chicken, and pork
  • Eggs
  • Fish - esp. salmon
  • Molasses
  • Millet and Quinoa
  • Fruits - esp. prunes, raisins
  • Vegetables - esp. mushrooms, chard, spinach, beets
  • Nuts, Seeds and Legumes (esp. lentils)

    A note about iron fortified foods: Many iron fortified foods have iron in a form that is not absorbable, so it is of little benefit. An iron supplement is available from a health care professional if needed.

Other Essential Foods and Nutrients

  • Vitamin A - Winter Squash (Pumpkin, butternut), Yams
  • Essential Fatty Acids - Flax Oil, nuts, seeds, expeller pressed oils (very important for baby's brain development)
  • Fiber - Whole grains, prunes, berries (esp. blackberry & raspberry), apples
  • Filtered Water - as much as is tolerated
  • Raspberry leaf tea  - may help tone the uterus
  • Smoothies & Juices - freshly prepared or juiced (any vegetable or fruit that can be tolerated is encouraged; add fresh ginger if tolerated); or try the Baby Shake.

Updated on: Apr. 18, 2013

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