Healthy Pregnancy Diet Guidelines

By EatingWell Editors

Steps for a healthy pregnancy.

Get enough folate/folic acid

Folate, a B vitamin found in beans, green leafy vegetables and citrus fruits, plays a critical role in a fetus’s development, particularly growth of its nervous system. Research has shown that supplementing with folic acid, the synthetic form of folate, reduces the occurrence of neural tube defects by up to 70 percent. (The neural tube goes on to develop into the baby’s brain and spinal cord.) Thus, since 1998, grain products, including breads, cereals and rice, have been fortified with folic acid. Nutrition experts advise pregnant women to get 400 micrograms of folic acid from supplements and fortified foods—in addition to eating folate-rich foods, including spinach, citrus fruits and beans. Taking a prenatal supplement that includes folic acid will help ensure that you’re getting enough.

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