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Essential nutrients in the diet of pregnant women

Bringing a child into the world requires a lot of resources. During pregnancy, the pregnant woman must draw on her reserves to meet the needs of the fetus. To avoid deficiencies in her or the child, she must be very attentive to her diet. The development of the fetus requires about fifty different nutrients. This article brings together the most important vitamins and nutrients in the diet of pregnant women.

Omega 3 :

The omega 3 known as DHA/EPA are essential for the brain of the fetus to develop properly. It is during the last three months of pregnancy and lactation that they are most useful. This is when the brain mostly develops.

Omega-3s can be found in omega-3-enriched eggs, fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, canned fish, and walnuts, canola oil, and flax seeds. or chia. Although rich in omega 3, fish liver oil supplements are not recommended because their vitamin A content is too high. If it is not possible to consume foods rich in omega 3, it is important to compensate with food supplements such as Vinalac DHA/EPA .

Fibers :

Fibers are formidable allies against constipation, eating Peanuts, nuts, seeds, peanut butter, cereals, quinoa, buckwheat, fruits, vegetables, legumes, facilitates transit disturbed by pregnancy hormones.


Iodine has a role in the growth of the brain of the fetus, but it mainly contributes to the production of thyroid hormones. Hormones that are essential for bone formation, muscle contraction, heartbeat and nutrient absorption.

We find iodine, quite simply, in salt. However, processed products contain a very high amount of salt, but do not provide iodine. It is therefore recommended to prepare your own dishes and to add a reasonable amount of salt, but which will provide the necessary iodine. Iodine is also found in seaweed, seafood and dairy products. Be careful to respect the prohibitions with regard to these three types of food. While some of them provide essential nutrients, others have a negative impact on the course of pregnancy.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 contributes to the production of red blood cells and DNA and impacts the proper functioning of the fetal nervous system. This vitamin is present almost exclusively in foods of animal origin such as milk, fish, seafood and meat. It is therefore important for vegetarian women to compensate for this lack with dietary supplements such as “ Vinalac ” and “ Vinalac DHA/EPA ” which both contain vitamin B12.

Folic acid (vitamin B9)

Folic acid, also called vitamin B9, must absolutely be included in the diet of pregnant women, but also in that of women who wish to have a child. This vitamin participates in the formation of new tissues, blood cells, brain and nervous system. Above all, it allows the neural tube of the fetus to close properly during the first 4 weeks of pregnancy. It is for this reason that it is important to take folic acid at least one month before the conception of the child. This allows the body to stock up and therefore be ready for the conception of the baby. A bad closure of the neural tube has very serious consequences such as physical handicaps or severe mental deficiencies. Spinabifida is one of the consequences of a malformation of the neural tube and today still affects one in a thousand children. However, studies show that taking folic acid reduces the risk of neural tube defects by 50%.

Unfortunately, folic acid can only be consumed via a supplement. In food, there is only one derivative of vitamin B9, folate. This derivative is found in dark green vegetables, legumes, orange fruits and sunflower seeds. Although these foods are important in the diet of pregnant women, they do not completely meet the need for folic acid. So you have to take a supplement like Vinalac which contains folic acid – Quatrefolic.


Iron requirements increase for two reasons during pregnancy. First, because the pregnant woman’s blood volume increases. Second, because you have to give the fetus iron. Iron is important because it is found in red blood cells and picks up oxygen to transport it throughout the body. If well dosed, it reduces the risk of premature delivery, low weight or early mortality in newborns.

It is found in oatmeal, tofu, quinoa, breakfast cereals, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, legumes, fish and seafood, red meats, poultry and black pudding.


During pregnancy, pregnant women need 30% more calcium. Calcium maintains good blood pressure, is involved in the production of teeth, bones, cells and tissues, but also in cell division.

Calcium is found in sesame butter, white beans, green vegetables and dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheese.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is very important because it helps in the assimilation of vitamin C and phosphorus. It will participate in the proper formation of the baby’s bones and teeth, cell growth and the work of the immune system. It also has a beneficial influence on the health of the heart, muscles and nerves.

The first source of vitamin D is the sun, but it is also found in food. As in egg yolk, fresh or canned fatty fish, milk enriched with vitamin D, or even mushrooms.

There are still other important elements in a pregnant woman’s diet, but the essential vitamins and nutrients have been covered in this article. Of course, it’s not just food that counts during pregnancy. Sport , for example, also has beneficial effects.


Although it is often said that a pregnant woman should eat for two, this is not true. In reality, the calorie requirement only increases by about 100 calories in early pregnancy and 450 calories in late pregnancy. The 2000-2200 daily calories of women are therefore not about to double. To eat enough, you have to eat enough and simply not deprive yourself. Frustration is not good for the future mother. It is also and above all necessary to eat a variety of foods. The needs for minerals and vitamins are enormous. You have to choose your foods carefully to be able to satisfy them.

It is also and above all necessary to stay hydrated. This is essential. Water has benefits for pregnant women, it reduces the risk of urinary tract infections, improves arterial circulation and provides mineral salts. It is also good for the fetus since it allows the exchange of nutrients between mother and child and influences the amount of amniotic fluid.

There are also foods to avoid or proscribe, but these are listed in the article “ Food restrictions for pregnant women ”. These precautions help to avoid the risk of food-borne infections, such as listeriosis and toxoplasmosis.