4 Nutrients for a Healthy Pregnancy

Nutrition is so important when you are pregnant because it can make the difference between a healthy, happy pregnancy and one where you are constantly experiencing pregnancy discomforts. Today I’m sharing my top 4 nutrients for a healthy pregnancy: protein, calcium, iron, and folate.

My top 4 Nutrients for a Healthy Pregnancy

Getting the nourishment you and your baby need can be done through eating a nutrient-dense diet, adding superfoods to your diet, or taking supplements. Many superfoods and supplements can have tremendous health benefits when taken during pregnancy; however often times there is insufficient information to prove if they are safe or unsafe to consume. In my book Healthy Holistic Pregnancy, I go into more detail around which supplements and superfoods are safe, and which are not. Please talk to your healthcare provider before eating new superfoods or taking supplements.  


Pregnant women need about 50% more protein during pregnancy, which translates to 70 to 85 grams of protein per day. Protein is really important because it is the building block of your baby’s body. Protein supports tissue growth of the baby and the new tissues you are growing to support birth.

The most nutrient-dense sources of protein are:

  • Cod
  • Shrimp
  • Turkey
  • Chicken
  • Beef
  • Lamb
  • Sardines
  • Tofu
  • Soybeans or edamame
  • Yogurt
  • Lentils
  • High-quality plant-based protein powders

All animal sources of protein and soy-based products on this list should be organic to reduce the amount of hormones, pesticides, and antibiotics you consume.

Pecan Chicken and Ginger Kale by Jesse Lane Lee


Calcium is a bone builder, which will help your baby’s bones and teeth form, and aid in your baby’s muscle and heart function, blood clotting, and nerve transmission. Pregnant women need about 1,300mg of calcium per day.

If you don’t consume enough calcium, your body will start pulling it from your bones to nourish your baby. This can cause decreased bone strength and may trigger toxins to be pulled from your bones and passed on to your baby. 

The most nutrient-dense sources of calcium are:

  • Spinach
  • Collard greens
  • Basil
  • Yogurt
  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Sesame seeds
  • Swiss chard
  • Tofu
Healthy Homemade Sesame Snaps by @jesselwellness


When you are pregnant your blood volume increases by 50%, so the demand for iron goes up by 50%. Iron is an extremely important nutrient during pregnancy because it is needed to build you and your baby’s blood cells. Iron also helps keep your energy levels high and helps keep your immune system strong. Pregnant women need 27mg of iron per day.

The most nutrient-dense sources of iron are:

  • Meat and poultry
  • Spinach
  • Swiss chard
  • Tofu
  • Shiitake mushrooms
  • Shrimp
  • Soybeans
  • Olives
  • Lentils
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Quinoa
  • Kidney beans
  • Blackstrap molasses

Iron is more easily absorbed when eaten with a food rich in vitamin C, like bell peppers, parsley, broccoli, strawberries, cauliflower, citrus, and papaya.

Folate or vitamin B9

Folate is the most important B vitamin during pregnancy and before conception because it helps prevent neural tube defects. It also helps with the formation of red blood cells, aids in the growth and reproduction of cells, and supports your baby’s nervous system development. Pregnant women need 400 to 600mcg per day.

The most nutrient dense sources of folic acid are:

  • Spinach
  • Asparagus
  • Celery
  • Pinto beans
  • Black beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Kidney beans
  • Navy beans
  • Liver
Sweet Potato Hash with Chickpeas by Jesse Lane Lee

Learn more Nutrients for a Healthy Pregnancy

Every mama-to-be wants the best for their growing baby, but sometimes it is hard to find reliable information on holistic and natural pregnancy practices. In my book Healthy Holistic Pregnancy, I talk about pregnancy power foods, how to naturally overcome pregnancy discomforts and it contains: 

  • Natural solutions to 27 common pregnancy symptoms
  • Superfoods and supplements you may want to avoid when pregnant
  • 15 pregnancy-friendly recipes for the first trimester and beyond
  • Key pregnancy nutrients and supplements for each trimester
  • Benefits of yoga when pregnant and which poses to modify
  • Essential oils safety and DIY skincare recipes

Buy my book in digital or print here. 

Healthy Holistic Pregnancy by Jesse Lane Lee

This video on nutrients for a healthy pregnancy was created for Nutridom Canada. I love Nutridom and partner with them frequently.

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