Eating healthy while you are pregnant is quite important; after all, you are eating for two. And although you’re advised not to overeat, you should get all the essential vitamins and mineral you need.
Know that there are specific vitamins and minerals that you must take to keep both you and your baby safe and healthy. It is highly recommended that you get these vitamins and minerals from the food you eat, but you may also need to take some supplements.
Your pregnancy will deplete your iron stores. So it is crucial for you to have the right intake of iron to help maintain these stores. Low iron levels during early pregnancy have been associated with low birth weight and premature birth.
A combined diet of plant foods and meat will help you achieve your iron intake. But iron from animal sources is highly recommended because iron absorption from these sources is easier than iron from plant sources. Red meat is considered the best source of iron. Chicken, fish, and other meats also have iron but not as much as red meat. Iron-enriched breakfast cereals, legumes, and leafy green vegetables are also among the preferred iron sources.
Consider adding a glass of fresh fruit juice and food rich in Vitamin C like broccoli and tomato to your meal to boost the amount of iron that your body absorbs. On the other hand, coffee, unprocessed bran and tea can inhibit iron absorption.
If you are iron deficient, you need to take an iron supplement. But make sure to take them based on your doctor’s advice because iron supplements can cause constipation, and to ensure you get only the necessary amounts.
Apart from increasing your iron intake, massage during pregnancy can also boost lymph and blood circulation. This helps raise your red blood cell count so your body produces more hemoglobin.
Folate, a B vitamin, is crucial for healthy growth and development. You will need a bigger amount of folate if you are pregnant to ensure the healthy growth of your unborn baby. Adequate folate intake will help prevent birth defects like spina bifida.
Iodine can be obtained from the food you eat. It is needed in small but correct amounts. It is crucial to the proper functioning of your thyroid which produces hormones that regulate your body’s metabolic rate, growth, body temperature, nerve and muscle function, and blood cell production.
A deficiency in iodine can affect the development of hearing and motor skills or result in learning difficulties for your baby.
Seafood is an excellent source of iodine, although it is also present in vegetables. However, the amount of iodine in vegetables depends on how much iodine is in the soil where they are planted. If the amount of iodine you get from the food you eat is not enough to meet the needs of pregnancy, you must take an iodine supplement. Before taking a supplement, talk to your doctor, especially if you have a pre-existing thyroid condition.
Calcium is crucial for the growth of your baby’s bones and teeth. Fish with edible bones like sardines and dairy products are rich in calcium. Other great sources of calcium include dried fruit, breakfast cereals, almonds, tofu, bread, and green leafy vegetables like broccoli, kale, and watercress. If you do not get enough calcium from your diet, you need to take a calcium supplement.
5. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is vital to keep your bones healthy. If you take prenatal supplements, they can also give your baby enough vitamin D for the first couple of months of his life. Calcium combined with Vitamin D is complementary to maintain excellent bone health. Too little vitamin D will cause your child‘s bones to soften.
There are only a few foods that contain Vitamin D – these include fortified margarine, some breakfast cereals, and oily fish. Sunlight is the best source of vitamin D. The amount of time you should be under the sun to make enough Vitamin D varies from one person to another.
It depends on your skin type, time of the year, and time of the day. If you often cover your skin or you have a dark skin, you might be at risk of Vitamin D deficiency.
Talk to your doctor if you are worried. Your doctor may recommend supplementation apart from daily exposure to sunlight.
6. Vitamin C
If you are pregnant, the need for Vitamin C is greater because of the larger blood volume in your system and the growth of your unborn baby. Vitamin C is vital for the formation of collagen that is essential in blood vessels. Moreover, it helps improve the absorption of iron. Fruits and vegetables are excellent dietary sources of this vitamin. Supplementation may be necessary if you don’t get enough amounts of Vitamin C from your diet.
Eating well while you are pregnant will help nourish you and your growing baby properly. Knowing the recommended daily intake of the essential vitamins and minerals is important.
If you can’t get enough amounts of these nutrients from your diet, talk to your doctor as you may need supplementation. Pregnaplus Vital, for instance, is a good source of all the essential nutrients necessary to support a healthy pregnancy.
Gehana Kennedy is the owner of vitaminshop.ae, the go-to source for high-quality wellness products including a range of step-by-step formulated vitamins, fitness supplements and natural skin care products. With innovative ideas and implementation of new technologies, she was able to establish a platform that offers not only quality products but also valuable information for customers.