•;Alternative sweeteners. You can eat moderate amounts of alternative sweeteners
that are considered safe in pregnancy. These include aspartame (NutraSweet®),
sucralose (Splenda®), acesulfame K (Sunette®), stevia and saccharin. Avoid using
cyclamate, found in tabletop sweeteners, such as Sucaryl®, Sweet’n Low®, Sugar Twin®
and Weight Watchers®. Alternative sweeteners often replace nutritious foods that are
important during pregnancy.
Important vitamins and minerals
Folic acid (folate)
Choose foods high in folate and take a
multivitamin with folic acid in it to help prevent
neural tube defects (e.g., spina bifida—in which
the spine doesn’t form as it should) in your baby.
Choose a multivitamin that has 0. 4–1.0 mg of
Some women may need higher levels of folic
acid. Talk to your healthcare provider about your
folic acid needs before you get pregnant if:
•;you’ve had an earlier pregnancy affected by
a neural tube defect
•;you have a close relative with a neural
•;you have diabetes, epilepsy or are
•;you take medicine on a regular basis
Talk to your healthcare provider before
taking more than 1 mg of folic acid a day.
Foods high in folate or fortified with folic acid:
•;whole grain breads, leafy green vegetables,
beans and lentils, citrus fruits and juices
and most cereals.
Healthy eating and taking a daily
multivitamin with folic acid helps
you prepare for a healthy pregnancy.
Make sure your multivitamin with
folic acid (0. 4–1.0 mg) also contains
iron, vitamin B12 and vitamin D. Talk
to your healthcare provider about the
supplement that is right for you.
If you are not already taking a
multivitamin, begin now and take
it throughout your pregnancy.
neural tube defects: birth defects that can affect the brain and spine