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Eating healthy during pregnancy

During pregnancy, the need for certain vitamins and minerals increases by leaps and bounds. This is how pregnant women can cover this:


Folic acid

Women who want to have children should consume more folic acid at least 1 month before the start of pregnancy. Studies show that this reduces the risk of spina bifida, the neural tube defect (also known as "open back"). The requirement increases to 550 micrograms per day during pregnancy. It is best to take 400 micrograms as a supplement until the end of the first trimester of pregnancy.


The following foods are rich in folic acid:

  • Green vegetables like lettuce, spinach, fennel, broccoli
  • orange juice
  • Fortified breakfast cereals (e.g. corn flakes)
  • Legumes such as lentils, peas or beans
  • Whole grain products (rice, pasta, cereals)
  • nuts
  • milk and milkproducts



In the course of pregnancy, the iron requirement doubles, in extreme cases even up to sixfold. A blood status shows whether there is a deficiency in the pregnant woman and whether it is necessary to take iron tablets. The recommended amount is 30 milligrams a day. A deficiency manifests itself through symptoms such as tiredness, dizziness and difficulty concentrating. If this is not counteracted, the risk of childhood growth disorders or premature births and miscarriages increases.


Tip: Iron is particularly well absorbed together with foods rich in vitamin C (paprika, fruit juice).


The following foods are also rich in iron:

  • Animal products such as meat and fish
  • Legumes such as lentils, peas or beans
  • Whole grain cereals
  • Green vegetables like spinach or salsify



The iodine requirement increases to 230 micrograms during pregnancy. Iodine is important for the baby's mental and physical development. Iodine deficiency used to be responsible for severe developmental disorders in children. In Austria, iodine is added to the salt, so that a deficiency is rare.


The following foods are rich in iodine:

  • Sea fish, algae, shellfish


Both mother and child need calcium to build their bones. As with adult women, the requirement during pregnancy is around 1,000 milligrams. If the mother does not consume enough calcium, it is withdrawn from her bones and teeth. Hence the old saying "every child costs a tooth".


The following foods are high in calcium:

  • milk and milkproducts
  • Special mineral water
  • Vegetables like broccoli, kale, and fennel


The zinc requirement increases to 10 milligrams per day. Zinc is important because it is important for cell division.


The following foods are rich in zinc:

  • Poultry, beef, pork, lamb
  • milk and milkproducts
  • egg
  • whole grain products
  • Wheat germ
  • Legumes such as lentils, peas or beans
  • Poppy
  • nuts
  • Dried fruits


The magnesium requirement is 310 milligrams per day. A lack of magnesium can lead to cramps and premature labor.


The following foods are rich in magnesium:

  • milk and milkproducts
  • Whole grain products (rice, pasta, cereals)
  • Fish and poultry
  • Soybeans
  • Mineral water

Vitamin A

From the fourth month, the need for vitamin A increases to 1.1 milligrams per day. Vitamin A is important for building cells and tissues and especially for the eyes. However, if possible, it should be ingested in the form of beta-carotene (a water-soluble precursor), since too much can damage the fetus. Liver is very rich in vitamin A as a result of feeding and is therefore not recommended during pregnancy. Even when taking several supplements, too much vitamin can be absorbed.


The following foods are rich in ß-carotene:

  • Orange vegetables like carrots, pumpkin
  • Leafy green vegetables like spinach and cabbage
  • Egg and fish also contain small amounts of vitamin A.

Vitamin B6

The need for vitamin B6 increases to 1.9 milligrams per day from the fourth month. The vitamin is important for the child's growth and development.


The following foods are rich in vitamin B6:

  • Whole grain products (rice, pasta, cereals)
  • Chicken and pork
  • fish
  • Bananas
  • Potatoes

vitamin C

The vitamin C requirement increases to 110 milligrams per day.


The following foods are rich in vitamin C:

  • Vegetables like peppers, broccoli, fennel
  • Citrus fruits
  • Potatoes
  • spinach
  • Berries such as sea buckthorn, currant and gooseberries

Vitamin E.

The need for vitamin E increases to 13 milligrams per day.


The following foods are rich in vitamin E:

  • Hazelnuts
  • Oils such as rapeseed, wheat germ, corn or sunflower oil.


The protein requirement increases during pregnancy by 30% to 58 grams per day, which corresponds to around 40 grams more turkey breast per day. The protein is not only important for the growth of the placenta and baby, but above all for the development of the child's brain. Protein is best consumed in combination with animal and vegetable products, as this is how the body can benefit the most.


The following foods are high in protein:

  • milk and milkproducts
  • Lean meat and fish
  • egg
  • Legumes such as lentils, peas or beans
  • Potatoes
  • loaf


The following combinations are ideal:

  • Milk with potatoes (mashed potatoes)
  • Cereal flakes with milk
  • Egg with bread
  • Lentils with bread dumplings
  • Meat with a side dish

Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids support cell growth, which is why they are particularly important during pregnancy. In the last trimester of pregnancy, fish oils improve the maturation of the brain and eyesight.


The following foods are rich in omega-3 fatty acids:

  • Vegetable oils such as rapeseed, linseed or walnut oil
  • fish