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12 Powerfoods for a Healthy Pregnancy

If you are thinking about becoming pregnant or you already are pregnant, CONGRATS! This is a very exciting time in your life!! I loved being pregnant.
Mar 20, 2016 | Joy McCarthy

If you are thinking about becoming pregnant or you already are pregnant, CONGRATS! This is a very exciting time in your life!! I loved being pregnant. It was such a joyous time because seeing my body change daily was truly a miracle.

You may find you are more concerned about what you are eating during pregnancy, and this is a good thing.

Healthy eating during pregnancy is one of the best things a mama-to-be can do for herself and her baby. The food you eat and the supplements you take are your baby's only source of nutrition. Good nutrition promotes your baby's growth and development.

There are no negative side effects to eating well :)

In this video, I share 12 pregnancy power foods that I recommend you eat regularly. Be sure to check out the summary of these foods below, because I've included plenty of recipe ideas for you too.

Broccoli and Cauliflower

  • Excellent sources of fiber. You need fiber for healthy digestion and easy bowel movements to reduce constipation and hemorrhoids.
  • Their phytonutrients support healthy estrogen metabolism by assisting liver detoxification (hormonal balance is key when trying to get pregnant and while pregnant).
  • Source of calcium, which is important for bone and tooth development.

Try my Curry Quinoa Cauliflower Stew or this Roasted Cauliflower Salad.

Chia Seeds

  • Excellent source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids and super high in fiber.
  • Great for "chia poops" by easing the passage of poop through your colon.
  • Rich in protein, which is a building block of your body’s cells and of your baby’s body as well. Eating adequate amounts of protein prevents you from turning into a carb monster, too!

Try my Chocolate Chia Granola or these Rosemary Buckwheat Chia Crackers.


  • Very rich in antioxidants, which are important during pregnancy because they reduce oxidative stress. Keeping stress low and eating antioxidant-rich foods positively affect baby's health later in life.
  • Blueberries are perfect to munch on when you are craving something sweet. Fruits like blueberries provide the body with a slow release of glucose because they contain fiber, unlike candies, cookies and pastries, which spike your blood sugar and make you crave MORE sweets.

Try my Blueberry Bliss Smoothie Bowl or these Gluten-free Vegan Blueberry Oat Pancakes.

Dates and Prunes

  • Both are very rich in fiber, which helps eliminate waste through the digestive system. A higher intake of fiber can help prevent the glucose intolerance that can lead to gestational diabetes.
  • Rich in minerals like potassium and magnesium. Potassium’s main role is maintaining fluid and electrolyte balance in your body’s cells. Since your blood volume expands by up to 50% during pregnancy, you’ll need slightly more electrolytes (sodium, potassium, and chloride, working together) to keep the extra fluid in the right chemical balance.

Try soaking some prunes in water to re-hydrate them and then pop them in your blender or food processor and then whip them into a puree.

Kale - Queen of the Greens!

  • All greens are a source of folate, which is a pregnancy power nutrient. It is essential for development of baby’s neural tube (which develops into the brain and spinal cord). It plays an important role in the production of red blood cells and may reduce the risk of pregnancy complications.
  • Rich source of digestive-friendly fiber.
  • Very high in antioxidants to help reduce the negative effects of stress on your body and your baby.

Try it chilled in my Chopped Kale & Beet Salad or warm and comforting in my Warm Beet & Kale Bowl or my Kale Salad with Creamy Dressing.

Avocado - a fruit!

  • A total superfood! Avocados are a fantastic source of good fat that keeps you satisfied and balances blood sugar.
  • Great source pregnancy power nutrients, including vitamin B5 – which is important for adrenal health (stress management) – folate, calcium and potassium.

Try my Key Lime Avocado Tart – a great way to smash a sweet craving!



  • Excellent source of plant-based protein and rich in fiber.
  • Lentils are high in iron. Iron is a pregnancy power nutrient and you need about twice as much iron as you did before you were expecting because your body uses iron to make extra blood for your baby.

Try my Curry Lentil Quinoa Soup, it's an oldie but a goodie!


  • Very rich in fiber and very blood sugar balancing, good source of iron.
  • It's no secret that pregnancy can take a toll on your energy levels. Oats are a great food for energy because they are rich source of complex carbohydrates.

Try my Chewy Chocolate Chip Tahini cookies.

Pumpkin Seeds

  • A rich source of many pregnancy power nutrients, including B vitamins (especially folate), calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and more!
  • B vitamins are important for energy production. You need more energy than ever when you are pregnant, so having a handful of pumpkin seeds keeps energy levels up!
  • Good source of protein and healthy fat.

Try them in my Comforting Cranberry Ginger Granola.

Fermented Foods

  • Next to fatigue, the most common complaint of pregnant women is digestive problems. Even if you're not yet pregnant, fermented foods are beneficial for digestive health because they encourage a healthy microbiome.
  • They feed the good bacteria through their prebiotic action. A healthy gut flora is essential for a healthy immune system. This is important during pregnancy so you can avoid getting a cold or flu. Pregnancy can definitely take a toll on your immune system, so keep it strong and you will avoid any sickness

Check out more fermented foods here.

Last but certainly not least!

One of the most common questions I get asked as a mama and a nutritionist is what prenatal I'm taking? The answer is New Chapter's Perfect Prenatal. I love it because it doesn't bother my tummy and I get NO multi-vitamin-burps whatsoever.

new chapter perfect prenatal vitamin

Pregnant tummies are super sensitive because digestion is slowed down, so it only makes sense that your multi is easy on your tummy too. New Chapter's prenatal is fermented, which is why it is so easy to digest. This also means more nutrients are getting to where they need to go! Foods that are fermented are much easier to digest. Think of them almost like a predigested food where the nutrients are amplified. This prenatal is made with organic fruits, vegetables and herbs,  including many of the foods I mentioned in my video! It is important to choose more organic foods while pregnant or if you are considering becoming pregnant to avoid hormone-disrupting pesticides.

Wishing you a joyous pregnancy and beyond!

Ps. Check out my latest ebook: The Complete Self-Care Guide For New Mamas


This post was created in partnership with New Chapter, however all opinions are always my own. Read more about partnership ethos here.

Earth Is Magical   •   March 21, 2016

Thank you for sharing this gift with us! I definitely agree that dates can be so beneficial during pregnancy! Have a truly happy day. :)

Heather Allen   •   March 21, 2016

Joanna   •   March 21, 2016

The above multi contains gluten. Do you have a reco for those of us who are gluten free?

Joy McCarthy   •   March 21, 2016

Mom-to-be   •   March 21, 2016

Great video! Is cacao powder safe to eat while pregnant (due to the caffeine it contains)?

Heather Allen   •   March 21, 2016

Monica   •   March 21, 2016

Hi Joh, I was wondering if the multi vitamin has folate or folic acid in it? I have been reading a lot about the difference between the two and want to be sure I am taking a vitamin with folate. What are your thoughts? Thanks:)

Heather Allen   •   March 23, 2016

Kim   •   March 21, 2016

Hi joy soapy happy you are posting about mommyhood! I am 6 months pregnant with my second and feeling good. With the lead issues in the news these days clean water is on my mind. I use Brita but need to make the switch. There doesn't seem to be any consensus on "the best" filtration systems. I notice you had a Santevia pitcher on your counter. My ND also likes this brand. Does it bother you that it doesn't filter fluoride or that it sits in plastic? In the past I know you enjoyed cedar springs. I'm interested in both brands and would love to hear you talk about water. If there are any home testing kits you are aware of that would also be awesome to know. Thanks for your time in answering!

Joy McCarthy   •   March 22, 2016

Caitlin   •   March 22, 2016

This prenatal sounds great, however I have been taking Genestra's Pregna Vite and wondering if this is OK as well, or should I switch? Thanks for the info, I love your videos, they are so informative!

Heather Allen   •   March 22, 2016

Melissa   •   March 30, 2016

I love the info you have provided :) thanks so much! I noticed that Wholemega recommends taking 4 capsules daily! Do I really need to take 4 every day ?

Heather Allen   •   April 1, 2016

Eve   •   April 5, 2016

Thank you for this wonderful information! I can't get enough of this site! I was wandering if these power foods would assist in the conception stage of having a baby? I have a friend on IVF and I would like to forward her this list. Thank you!

Heather Allen   •   April 5, 2016

Valerie Belair   •   April 20, 2016

Hi Joy, What would you recommend for a breastfeeding mama? My baby is 1 year and 1 month and I breastfeed in the morning and 1 or twice in the afternoon and evening. I stopped taking my Usana multivitamin a month ago during my pre-wedding detox. I had been taking it for 2 years but It was making my urine bright yellow and I felt like my body wasn't absorbing well and like it was TOO much vitamins. I eat organic 90% of the time. I am also having alot of trouble putting muscle on. I used to weight 117 lbs before my pregnancy and I've been down to 105 lbs for a few months. I follow your recipes and eat clean but I am wondering if you have any advice for me. THANKS! :)

Valerie Belair   •   April 20, 2016
Heather Allen   •   April 20, 2016

hanna81   •   May 13, 2016

Hi Joy! where can I purchase New Chapter’s Perfect Prenatal ? I am located in southern California

Heather Allen   •   May 13, 2016

Mom-in-training   •   May 23, 2016

Hello, Do you recommend a DHA vitamin to take with New Chapter perfect prenatal? Thank you.

Heather Allen   •   May 24, 2016

Danessa Martinez   •   July 7, 2016

is it safe to drink the genuine health vegan protein plus powder during pregnancy? and which flavor is ur favorite?

Heather Allen   •   July 8, 2016

Jessica   •   August 8, 2016

Hi, I know this is an old post, but would you recommend continuing to use Genuine Health's Fermented Whole Body Nutrition with Greens+ while pregnant? I will ask my doctor, but saw your post about Greens+ O below and got concerned. Thanks! :)

Heather Allen   •   August 8, 2016

Blair   •   March 15, 2017

whens the next healthy pregnancy webinar?

Rachel Molenda   •   March 16, 2017

Kelsey   •   August 26, 2017

Joy what protein powders are safe when pregnant? Thanks!

Rachel Molenda   •   August 28, 2017

Sat   •   December 18, 2017

Thank you so much for the recommendations. I know you mentioned above that the New Chapter prenatal has folate in it. Is the dosage (3x/day) enough or do you recommend taking more folic (or folate) in addition? Thank you so much!

Rachel Molenda   •   December 19, 2017

Kelly   •   December 26, 2017

I’ve heard different views on Kombucha while pregnant. What are your thoughts?

Rachel Molenda   •   December 27, 2017

Sat   •   December 29, 2017

Hi there! I had another question. Do fermented foods include Kombucha? Is that safe to drink during pregnancy?

Rachel Molenda   •   January 2, 2018

Marg   •   February 6, 2018

Joy, Would you recommend a green powder supplement during pregnancy?

Joy McCarthy   •   February 6, 2018

Alison Midgley   •   April 16, 2018

What greens powders are safe during pregnancy? My absolute favs (Genuine Health Greens ... all flavours) are not recommended. Please help I miss drinking these yummy options!

Rachel Molenda   •   April 17, 2018

Elaine   •   February 4, 2019

Great Article. Is it safe to take vitamin D supplement while pregnant, or do the vitamins need to be specifically for pregnancy? Thanks!

Joy McCarthy   •   February 4, 2019

Monika   •   September 18, 2019

This was an awesome read, thank you so much. Would it be safe to take Genuine Health Fermented Organic Gut Superfood probiotic superfood powder? There website states it's safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Joy McCarthy   •   September 19, 2019

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