Food Habit

Almost all pregnant women need to get more protein, more of certain vitamins and minerals such as folic acidand iron, and more calories (for energy). If your diet is poor to begin with, making the transition to eating nutritious meals is one of the best things you can do for your baby's health.

But eating better doesn't mean eating more --- or rather, not much more. If you start off at a healthy weight, you need no extra calories during the first trimester, about 300 extra calories a day in the second trimester, and about 450 extra calories a day in the third trimester. If you're overweightor underweight, you'll need more or less than this, depending on your weight gain goal.

Diet During Pregnancy

Foods to avoid during pregnancy
Some studies suggest that women who consume 200 or more milligrams (mg) of caffeine per day (about one 12-ounce cup) are twice as likely to miscarry as women who consume no caffeine. Large amounts of caffeine have also been linked to slightly lower birth weight and even stillbirth.

In addition to coffee, caffeine is found in teas, colas, other soft drinks, cocoa, and chocolate. Switch to decaffeinated brews and sodas instead.

Start taking a prenatal vitamin-mineral supplement
In an ideal world – free of morning sickness and food aversions – a well-balanced diet would be all an expectant mom needed to meet her nutritional needs. But in the real world, a vitamin-mineral supplement helps ensure that you'll get the nutrients you need.

Make sure the vitamin you choose contains folic acid. (You need 400 mcg before you become pregnant and in early pregnancy, and then at least 600 mcg.) A lack of this B vitamin has been linked to neural tube birth defects (NTDs) such as spina bifida.

Later in your pregnancy you may need to take iron or calcium supplements to make sure you're getting enough of these key minerals. Many experts also recommend taking a vitamin D supplement throughout pregnancy.