Nutrition Before Pregnancy You need about 300 extra calories a day to maintain a healthy pregnancy. These calories should come from a balanced diet of protein, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Folic Acid for a Healthy Baby Getting enough folic acid can reduce the risk for neural tube defects (NTDs) and may also reduce the risk for other serious birth defects of the brain and spinal cord. Watch Your Weight If your weight is not in the healthy range for your height and build, the best way to lose weight is to set a reasonable goal and lose it slowly and gradually. Planning a Pregnancy Planning ahead and taking care of yourself before becoming pregnant is the best thing you can do for you and your baby. Components of Food When trying to make heart-healthy changes to your lifestyle and diet, it is helpful to know some basics about nutrition.