What to Eat During Pregnancy? A pregnant woman need calories, protein, vitamins, minerals, and water all increase during pregnancy. With the exception of iron for many women, a careful selection of food can and should provide the additional calories and nutrients required. For healthy women, no special dietary supplements or foods are needed to insure adequate nutrition. What is needed is a diet that includes: Sufficient calories to gain weight at an appropriate rate The assortment of foods recommended in the MyPyramid Adequate intake of all essential nutrients Sufficient fluid (eleven to twelve cups per day) A healthy dose of EPA and DHA (300 mg daily) Enough fiber (twenty-eight grams daily) No salt restriction No alcohol Foods that you enjoy and consume at pleasant mealtimes Every diet is unique No two women have exactly the same need for calories. That’s because caloric need during pregnancy is based on an individual’s physical activity level, current weight, muscle and fat mass, metabolic rate, and the stage of pregnancy. That makes it impossible to state with certainty a specific number of additional calories needed by individual pregnant women. The best way to judge the adequacy of caloric intake is by assessing weight gain. When you consume more calories than you use up, you gain weight. When your caloric intake is lower than your body’s need for calories, you lose it. In the best of all worlds, pregnant women would consume sufficient calories to consistently and gradually gain weight. The amount of weight gain that is right for pregnancy depends on pre pregnancy weight and whether more than one baby is expected. Benefits: If you are eating a healthy diet and gaining weight at the recommended rate, you really don’t need to worry about calories. If your weight fluctuates a bit from day to day, you shouldn’t worry about that, either. Appetite and food intake levels during pregnancy come and go like the tide, only not as regularly. Good rates of weight gain often result when women eat when they are hungry and stop eating when they begin to feel full. Because this method doesn’t work for all women, it may be necessary to monitor your weight gain to determine whether you are getting an adequate amount of calories.