Before birth, a baby must receive all her nutrition from her mother. While good maternal nutrition is necessary for normal fetal growth, other factors can also be important, such as genetics or disorders that affect the transfer of nutrients across the placenta from the mother to the fetus. Although your diet will have some influence on the growth of your baby, no single food or nutrient will improve growth.
Diet for Pregnancy
Normal growth of your baby relies on obtaining an appropriate supply of calories and specific nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals. The exact requirements vary throughout pregnancy, but maintaining a healthy diet with a variety of nutrient-rich foods from all food groups will meet most of your baby’s needs. Having adequate nutritional stores before pregnancy and being in good general health also play a role in determining whether your baby will receive the required nutrition.
Multivitamins and Iron Deficiency
Multivitamins are often taken throughout pregnancy to make up for any possible deficiencies in the diet. The 2009 Veterans Affairs/Department of Defense Clinical Guidelines for Pregnancy Management recommend that all women take daily multivitamins for at least the first 13 weeks of pregnancy. Iron deficiency is a possibility for some women because daily iron requirements almost double during pregnancy. Significant iron deficiency that leads to anemia -- low red blood cell counts -- can cause poor fetal growth. Multivitamins contain some iron, but your doctor will likely do blood tests to determine whether you require extra additional iron.