Water

Water carries nutrients from the food you eat to your baby. It can also help prevent constipation, hemorrhoids, excessive swelling, and urinary tract or bladder infections. As your pregnancy progresses, drinking too little water can contribute to premature or early labor.

How much: The Institute of Medicine recommends about 10 cups (2.4 liters) of fluids a day during pregnancy. Water, juices, coffee, tea and soft drinks all contribute to your daily fluid needs. Keep in mind, however, that some drinks are high in sugar and too much can cause weight gain. Because of the potential effects on your developing baby, your health care provider might also recommend limiting the amount of caffeine in your diet to less than 200 milligrams a day during pregnancy.

Fats, oils and sweets

There are no minimum requirements for fats and sweets. Choose foods with healthy fats such as nuts, seeds or avocados. Use oil and vinegar as your salad dressing. It's OK to indulge once in a while — as long as you're getting the nutrients you need and your weight gain is on target. To avoid going overboard, control your portion sizes of foods high in fat and sugar.

Ask about supplements

Even women who eat healthfully every day can miss out on key nutrients. A daily prenatal vitamin — ideally starting three months before conception — can help fill any gaps. Your health care provider might recommend special supplements if you follow a strict vegetarian diet, have had bariatric surgery or have any chronic health conditions, such as diabetes. Always consult your health care provider before taking any new vitamins or supplements during pregnancy.

Twins or other multiples

If you're pregnant with twins or other multiples, you'll likely need more nutrients and calories than does a woman pregnant with one baby. Consult your health care provider about how much more to eat.

Feb. 28, 2014 See more In-depth