Basically, our body needs vitamins and minerals to be healthy. However, during pregnancy there’s a list of nutrients that pregnant women need to support the baby’s growth and development, and help the mother to be healthy throughout pregnancy all the way to giving birth. You can have the vitamins and minerals you need by eating a healthy and varied diet in addition to taking some supplements. And of course, regular visit to the obstetrician and gynecologist will make a huge difference. Supplements are available in pharmacies and supermarkets but it is always best to consult with the experts first before taking any. When you are pregnant, some nutrients are more important than the others.
The iron stores of a soon-to-be mother run down easily during pregnancy. Since her need for iron doubles, it is important then to have a generous supply of iron to help generate and sustain her iron stores. Studies show that low levels of iron during the early stage of pregnancy increases the risk of premature birth and low birth weight. The best sources of iron are lean red meat, poultry, fish, iron-fortified breakfast cereals, beans and vegetables.
A pregnant woman needs folate for the healthy growth and development of the baby. There must be a sufficient supply of folate to avoid birth defects like severe abnormalities of the brain and neural tube defects in the unborn child. To increase your folate intake, you can have folic acid which is the synthetic form of folate present in supplements and folate enriched foods. It is best if you can take folate before pregnancy but if not, you can just start the moment you know you are pregnant.
Pregnant women need more calcium not only to keep their bones and teeth strong and healthy but for better development of the baby’s bones and teeth as well. The circulatory, muscular and nervous systems of both mother and child also benefit when the mother has adequate supply of calcium. Dairy products, cereals, almonds, tofu, sardines and green leafy vegetables are great sources of calcium.
Expectant mothers need iodine especially for the developing baby in the womb. Iodine plays an important role when the body produces thyroid hormones. These hormones control the nerve and muscle function, production of blood cell, metabolic rate, growth, reproduction and body temperature. Seafood is a good natural source of iodine.
During pregnancy, there is a larger blood volume in the mother and the developing child. Your body then could use up a little more vitamin C because it is essential in the formation of collagen that is particularly vital in blood vessels. Your body also needs vitamin C to protect and keep the cells healthy. Fruits and vegetables are great sources of vitamin C.
Protein is an important nutrient for the healthy development of the baby particularly during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters. The best sources of protein include eggs, fish, poultry and lean meat. You can also get protein from peanut butter, dried beans and peas, dairy products and tofu.
Several enzymes that help control the genetic factor contain zinc. Sufficient supply of zinc is essential in the rapid cell growth that happens during pregnancy. Nuts, legumes, seafood, milk, wholegrain cereals and lean meat are great sources of zinc.
To have healthy bones and teeth, your body needs calcium and phosphate, and these nutrients are regulated in the body with the help of vitamin D. Moms-to-be need ample amount of vitamin D not only for themselves but for the baby especially during the first few months of pregnancy.
This list of nutrients that pregnant women need, among other things, are vital for a healthy pregnancy, ensures good health for the expectant mothers and supports the baby’s growth and development.