What nutrients do you need during the first trimester?
Folic acid: This is the most essential micronutrient in terms of first-trimester nutrition — and prenatal nutrition in general. That’s because folic acid (also known as vitamin B9 or folate, when it’s in food form) plays a key role in preventing neural tube defects. To get the recommended 600 micrograms per day, take a daily prenatal vitamin and eat oranges, strawberries, green leafy vegetables, fortified breakfast cereals, kidney beans, nuts, cauliflower, and beets.
Protein: It’s key for muscle development for both you and your baby, and supports uterine tissue growth. Aim for about 75 grams per day (good sources include eggs, Greek yogurt, and chicken).
Calcium: It’s critical for the growth of your baby’s teeth and bones. Since your growing baby will take calcium from your own stores, too little calcium in your diet can result in brittle bones (osteoporosis) later on. You can generally get the recommended 1,000 milligrams per day through a well-balanced diet including milk, cheese, yogurt, and dark leafy greens, but if you’re worried you might be falling short, ask your OB/GYN if you should take a supplement.
Iron: Iron is increasingly important as your blood supply ramps up to meet the demands of your growing baby. The goal of 27 milligrams per day can be a challenge to reach through food alone (beef, chicken, eggs, tofu, and spinach are all good sources), so make sure you’re getting a solid dose of iron in your prenatal vitamin to reduce the risk for pregnancy anemia.
Vitamin C: C-rich foods like oranges, broccoli, and strawberries help to promote bone and tissue development in your growing baby and boost the absorption of iron. You should aim for 85 milligrams per day.
Potassium: It teams up with sodium to help your body maintain proper fluid balance and also regulates blood pressure. Aim to get 2,900 milligrams per day through your prenatal vitamin and foods like bananas, apricots, and avocados.