The key nutrients for pregnant women

During pregnancy, there is a rule to remember: no need to eat twice as much, but eat twice as much!

Indeed, your nutritional needs evolve to ensure the proper development of your baby. In addition to a healthy, varied and balanced diet, it is essential to pay special attention to five nutrients that your body particularly needs during this very particular phase of life: folates, iron, calcium, vitamin D and iodine.

Let's find out how!

  1. Folate or vitamin B9

It is particularly important that a future mother has an adequate supply of folate at the time of conception and at the very beginning of pregnancy. They play a major role in the development of the nervous system of the embryo and the prevention of neural tube defects. Think of yeast flakes and green vegetables (spinach, watercress, lamb's lettuce ...) which are an interesting source. Drug supplementation in the form of folic acid may be necessary, talk to your doctor or midwife.

  1. The iron

The need for iron increases during pregnancy due to the increase in blood mass. You will find it in red meat, fish and eggs but also in legumes.

  1. Calcium

Essential for baby's bone development, calcium needs are met by consuming 4 dairy products per day (yogurt, fromage blanc, cheeses, etc.), as well as certain mineral and vegetable waters: spinach, broccoli, almonds, etc.

  1. Vitamin D

This vitamin is essential for the proper fixation of calcium on the bones. You can find it in fatty fish, and naturally with the sun.

  1. Iodine

With increasing needs during pregnancy, iodine is involved in the development of your baby's brain and the functioning of the thyroid gland. They are found in seafood, dairy products, eggs, as well as iodized salt.

And like everyone else, you must also ensure that you have a balanced intake of proteins, carbohydrates and fats.

The proteins

These "bricks" constituting our body are essential during your pregnancy. Consider eating 100 to 150 g of meat or fish, or 2 eggs per day, as well as foods based on vegetable proteins such as legumes (chickpeas, white and red beans, lentils, etc.) and cereals including one portion represents half a plate.


Use complex sugars (bread, potatoes, whole grains), which provide energy slowly assimilated, to simple sugars (white rice, white pasta and sweet products). A serving of 70 g of starchy foods (weight before cooking) is interesting for satiety and will therefore allow you to avoid being hungry between meals and to give in to a cravings.

Fatty substances

If the consumption of added fats must be limited, pay particular attention to the choice of fats by favoring vegetable fats (olive oil, rapeseed, evening primrose ...) up to 2 tablespoons per day, animal fats ( butter, cream…) which must not exceed 10 g per day. They mostly contain omega 3, essential fatty acids not made by the body. Oily fish (sardines, mackerel, salmon, etc.) are also a good option for filling up!

To remember :

A varied and balanced diet providing good quality proteins, well-chosen fats and complex carbohydrates will allow you to manage your appetite on a daily basis. Sufficient intakes specifically of folate, iron, calcium, vitamin D and iodine will cover the increase in nutritional needs related to pregnancy and the harmonious growth of your baby.


PNNS: “The nutrition guide for pregnancy” 2015 Edition