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Pregnant woman eating a healthy snack to provide her baby with nutrients.

What Your Body Is Really Craving During Pregnancy

Nov 20, 2020

A developing fetus needs a variety of vitamins and minerals to develop into a strong and healthy baby, so it can be incredibly overwhelming to shop for the right ingredients to help grow your perfect bun in the oven. A balanced diet that includes foods from every food group is the way to go, and with the help of our shopping list, you’ll be sure to get plenty of the following three nutrients.

Folate to Help Your Baby Develop

Folate, known as folic acid when in supplement form, is an essential nutrient for you to consume throughout your entire pregnancy. The formation of your baby’s circulatory and nervous systems relies on a healthy level of folate in your diet. Because it’s responsible for brain and spinal cord development, consumption of this vitamin during the first weeks of pregnancy can help prevent neural tube defects, including spina bifida and anencephaly.

Iron to Reduce the Risk of Premature Birth 

When you’re pregnant, your body increases production of red blood cells to distribute to both you and your developing child. Iron is a necessary component in the creation of hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout your body. Insufficient iron levels during pregnancy have been linked to premature birth and low birth weight.

Calcium to Maintain Your Health While Your Baby Grows 

Calcium is a necessity for strong bones and teeth, and it’s just as crucial for your baby’s development. If your prenatal diet isn’t providing enough extra calcium for your child, your body will pull existing calcium out of your bones for use by your baby, which can weaken your skeletal system. Load up on calcium-rich foods so both you and your child can have strong, healthy bones.

Your Pregnancy Grocery List

Healthy grocery list for pregnant women to download

Download Infographic


While this list covers three types of vital nutrients, there are many more you and your developing child need. Speak with your Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group OBGYN to learn what other types of vitamins and minerals you should be adding into your diet. As you progress through your pregnancy, learn about the many services and classes offered at our St. Luke’s Health Family Birthing Centers that can help you navigate the journey.

What to Expect | Weeks 1 and 2 Pregnancy Nutrient: Folic Acid (Vitamin B9)
Healthline | Nutritional Needs During Pregnancy
What to Expect | Weeks 4 Pregnancy Nutrient: Calcium
What to Expect | Week 20 Pregnancy Nutrient: Iron
Healthline | 15 Healthy Foods That Are High in Folate (Folic Acid)
Healthline | Top 15 Calcium-Rich Foods (Many Are Non-Dairy)
Medical News Today | Everything you need to know about iron
Baby Center | Iron in your pregnancy diet