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Articles & Advice for expecting moms

Nutritional needs for expecting moms

Now more than ever, it’s time to really take care of yourself. Part of feeling your best is making sure you get the extra nutrition you need during this exciting time so you have energy — for you and your baby.

The role of healthy eating in a healthy pregnancy

Your nutritional and overall health, before and during pregnancy, influences the health of your developing baby. Eating well, combined with taking a daily multivitamin with folic acid and iron, can give you the nutrients you need to feel good, have energy, and support a healthy pregnancy.

You need to eat foods from a variety of sources to make sure you get all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients you and your developing baby need.

Calorie requirements

Your energy needs increase during pregnancy. How many more calories you need vary from woman to woman since it’s based on your own energy requirements and physical activity.

  • 1st Trimester — Additional 100 kCal/day
  • 2nd and 3rd Trimesters — Additional 300 kCal/day


Getting enough calories is important: An inadequate energy intake during pregnancy has been associated to decreased placental weight which could affect maternal-child exchange (i.e. delivery of nutrients to the fetus).

Protein requirements

Your protein requirements will increase mostly during the 2nd half of your pregnancy.

The Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI’s) for protein are:

  • 71 g/d for pregnant women
  • 46 g/d for non-pregnant women


Getting enough protein is also important since a protein deficit can affect your baby’s development.

Making smarter choices

Although we all try to eat well, for various reasons, our food choices can vary the nutritional quality of our eating plans.

Check this comparison table of meals and snacks and their nutrient content to see how your choices stock up:

Nutrient contentSimilac Mom (1 bottle)Glass of 2% milk (250 ml)Chicken sandwich, condiments and vegetablesGranola bar (Nuts and raisins)Bran muffinChips (one small bag)
Protein (g)12933243
Fat (g)6.0512658
Calcium (mg)27537270241854
Vitamin D (mcg)1.252.8n/an/an/an/a
Iron (mg)
Folic acid (mcg)6013838380

Get more details

For information on other nutrients, prenatal vitamins, food groups and healthy choices, read Nutrition During Pregnancy.