Diet Basics

A basic pregnancy diet for a healthy pregnancy is not too hard to attain if women are well versed in the basics of a healthy diet. “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” created a simple roadmap for women to follow when pregnant so they can experience healthy and proper weight gain and give birth to a healthy baby.

First, the diet focuses on what it calls “The Daily Dozen”. These are 12 things women should keep in mind each day. These include:

  • Prenatal Vitamins – Women should take a prenatal vitamin each day
  • Fluids – Pregnant women should get 8, 8-ounces of fluid a day, preferably in the form of water
  • Vitamin C – Ideally, pregnant women will get 3 servings of Vitamin C per day
  • Calcium – 4 servings per day are recommended for the baby’s bone development
  • Protein – Women should aim for 3 servings per day; protein is essential for developing human cells
  • Green leafy vegetables and yellow or orange vegetables – A total of 3-4 servings per day are recommended
  • Other fruits and vegetables – Women should aim for 1 to 2 servings per day
  • Whole grains and vegetablese – Women should get 6 to 9 servings per day
  • Iron-rich foods – In order to avoid anemia, pregnant women should get 27 mg of iron per day
  • Salty foods – These should be eaten in moderation
  • Healthful fats – These should also be eaten in moderation
  • Calories – Pregnant women often look forward to being able to eat more food on a daily basis, but most women should only increase their caloric intake by 300 calories per day in the first trimester. In the second trimester, women can increase this to an additional 350 calories per day and in the third trimester total caloric intake can be increased by 500 calories. Women who are underweight prior to pregnancy might need to eat more; women who are overweight might be able to eat less.


 Suggested Foods

In order to achieve the goal of eating (and avoiding some) of the Daily Dozen, pregnant women should eat a variety of lean protein (spreading it between the three meals a day), low-fat and non-fat dairy products, colorful vegetables and fresh fruit. Eggs, chicken and milk are great choices for pregnant women as are spinach, oatmeal and nutrient-rich salads.


Pros and Cons


  • Pregnant women who eat a diet rich in vital nutrients feel better during pregnancy
  • Following the edicts of the “Daily Dozen” is easy
  • Women who eat a nutrient-rich diet often have larger and healthier babies
  • A good diet can sometimes ease pregnancy symptoms like morning sickness and lethargy


  • A good pregnancy diet reminds women that they can’t eat whatever they want in pregnancy (which might be a negative for some)
  • Eating a diet rich in nutrients like this can be more expensive than a traditional diet



There is no specific cost associated with this diet. Women should only have the expense of good-quality groceries.


Diet Origin

The “Daily Dozen” is recommended by the book “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” and “What to Eat When You’re Expecting”, both books that have become mainstays in many pregnant women’s bookshelves. Based on research that highlights the best diet for pregnant women, the “dozen” gives women an easy roadmap to follow to ensure good health during pregnancy.


Sample Of The Diet


2 eggs, scrambled

2 slices whole wheat bread, toasted

1 pat margarine or butter

1 c. nonfat (skim) milk

1 banana


Tuna sandwich on whole grain bread with a slice of cheese

1 c. nonfat milk

Carrot and celery sticks

1 small sliced apple


1 slice whole wheat toast with 1 tab. peanut butter


3 oz. grilled chicken breast

1 c. broccoli

1 small baked potato

1 pat butter

½ c. applesauce


1 ounce low-fat cheese

5 whole grain crackers