Becoming pregnant changes your perspective on just about everything in your life, including what you should eat. Creating and following a healthy pregnancy diet makes sense for both the mother—or surrogate mother—and baby.

Below are seven ways that pregnant women can maximize their fuel and nutrient levels when carrying a child.

1. Include Dairy in Every Meal

Foods such as milk and cottage cheese provide high amounts of calcium and protein, which are critical for the baby’s development. Plus, they help the mother avoid bone density loss later in life. Women who experience lactose intolerance can often eat Greek or regular yogurt, or find lactose-free versions of their favorite dairy beverages.

2. Take Prenatal Vitamins

Prenatal vitamins have been specially developed to keep moms and babies healthier during pregnancy. These vitamins should be taken consistently as directed by a physician.

3. Add Color to Every Plate

What foods should you choose to maintain both your and the baby’s well-being? A general rule of thumb is to go through the produce aisle and purchase colorful fruits and veggies. Adding a rainbow palette to every plate often translates to a natural increase in vitamins, minerals and fiber.

4. Pick Iron-Rich Foods

When a woman is pregnant, her blood supply becomes more important than ever. For that reason, she needs to actively take in iron-rich foods. Iron can be found in items such as red meat, some soy products, spinach, kale and fortified cereals.

5. Limit Sweets and Fats

Some women report intense cravings during pregnancy, often for foods that are sweet and fatty. Although pregnant women do need a couple hundred more calories each day, keep treats to a minimum.

6. Make Healthy At-Home Smoothies

An excellent way for women to get enough nutrition is to make high-fiber, high-protein, high-vitamin smoothies. Simply mix berries, yogurt and a dash of honey in a blender every morning to start the day off with health-promoting antioxidants and protein. It can also be much easier to drink a smoothie on a queasy stomach than eating a full breakfast.

7. Fill Up on Fiber

Every pregnancy diet plan should include a hearty dose of daily fiber. Having enough fiber makes sure the body can process and eliminate nutrients efficiently. An extra bonus to eating more fiber is that pregnant moms and surrogates are less likely to experience cravings.

If you are pregnant, you have an amazing journey ahead of you. Mapping out a healthy pregnancy diet will only make it better.

Ready to begin your path to parenthood? Contact the compassionate team at Western Fertility Institute today. We would love to meet you!

This content was medically reviewed by the Western Fertility Institute medical team on October 10, 2019.