To properly develop and thrive, infants need a steady, rich supply of nutrients from the mother. For example, folic acid helps establish the brain and spinal column, and proteins build the infant's exploding cells.
A healthy, varied diet -- high in fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, lean meats and dairy -- is key to the development of a full-term, vigorous baby. On the other end of the spectrum, a diet restricted to foods low in nutritional value, like processed sweets, can slow fetal growth.
Not eating enough food during pregnancy can also limit a baby's growth. Recommended weight gain for a typical pregnancy is 25 to 35 pounds, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).
Did You Know?
Doctors recommend that women take 400 micrograms of folic acid daily for at least a month before becoming pregnant, and during the first three months of pregnancy to help prevent defects of the spine and skull.