Normal Pregnancy

Nutrition and Pregnancy

There are several nutritional factors that need to be taken into consideration for pregnant individuals. For instance, as the weight of the pregnant person correlates with the weight of the infant at birth, it is concerning if the mother does not gain weight during pregnancy. The normal amount of weight to gain depends on the individual’s weight before pregnancy. For instance, a person who is within the normal weight range for their size should gain about 20 lbs during pregnancy, whereas an underweight individual should gain around 30 lbs, and an overweight individual should only gain about 16 lbs. This weight gain comes from multiple things: the fetus (7.5 lbs), the placenta and amniotic fluid (3 lbs), the blood (4 lbs), the breasts (1–2 lbs), and fat (4 lbs).

Daily dietary requirements for common nutrients 

It is also very important that a pregnant person consumes adequate amounts of calories, proteins, minerals, and vitamins to maintain the health of their developing baby.

Calories and Protein intake 

When it comes to calories, pregnant women need to increase their daily caloric intake by about 15%, which means that weight loss programs are not an option during pregnancy. As for protein, the pregnant person should intakes 1.3 mg more per day than usual.


For minerals, there are two that are important during pregnancy and need to be ingested at a certain level per day: iron and calcium. 30 to 60 mg of iron needs to be consumed per day, and a daily amount of 1200 mg of calcium needs to be consumed, which will help with leg cramps. Note that the amount of sodium ingested may remain as normal.


Vitamins are also important during pregnancy. One vitamin in particular should be regulated. This vitamin is folate, and it should be consumed at an amount of 1 mg per day during pregnancy. This vitamin is necessary to make heme. If a woman has previously had a child with an abnormal neural tube, to prevent this issue in any further pregnancies, the mother will need to consume 4 mg of folate per day for a month preceding pregnancy and three months during pregnancy.


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Human Reproduction: A Clinical Approach Copyright © 2023 by Dr. Hala Bastawros, M.D is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.