This is a special time where the demands on your body are greater than normal, so it's really important that during your pregnancy you eat healthily to help ensure your baby grows and develops normally and that you remain healthy without becoming depleted of any nutrients.
Some of the major nutrients you need to increase while pregnant are folate, calcium, iron, fibre and water.
Calcium is essential in order for your baby to develop strong teeth and bones. The greatest requirement is in the last trimester when your baby is growing quickly. Your baby will take everything they need but may leave you depleted of calcium if you are not getting enough in your diet. Calcium is also essential for the production of breast milk the best food for your baby. Low calcium levels over a long period of time may increase your risk of osteoporosis, so to be sure your bones remain healthy, you should increase you daily intake to 1200mg a day while you are pregnant.
Folate or folic acid is a B vitamin. Low levels have been linked to neural tube defects in the foetus such as spina bifida. It is possible to get the recommended daily intake of 500mg by including folate-rich foods in your diet. However, if you feel that you are not getting enough, a supplement of 500mg a day is recommended. The most important time to ensure you are getting enough folate is one month prior to pregnancy and also during the first three months.
The hormones released during pregnancy can make women more susceptible to constipation. To help prevent this is it recommended that you increase the amount of fibre in your diet.
Iron is essential for you body to produce haemoglobin, a molecule that transports oxygen around your body and to your baby across the placenta. During pregnancy your blood volume increases about 50 percent to meet the demands of your baby. To ensure that you have enough iron to make the additional red blood cells, your daily iron intake should be between 25-36mg a day.