The medical community has long preached the importance of a healthy and well balanced diet. Eating healthily is even more important when you are not only eating for yourself, but for your unborn baby. If you aren’t getting the proper nutrition you need, then neither is the baby growing inside of your womb. There are several key nutrients that are known to affect the growth and development of a fetus. In short, if your baby does not get a proper amount of nutrients when he or she is in utero, the odds that he or she will be born with, or eventually develop a health complication are greatly increased.
What vitamins and nutrients do pregnant women need in their diet?
During pregnancy, a woman should try to get the recommended amount of all nutrients, however there are several that are especially important.
1. Folic acid is one of the most important micronutrients for your baby. It helps prevent several birth defects including brain defects and spine defects.
2. Iron is an important mineral, especially pregnant women. In fact, it’s so important pregnant women need twice as much of it. Iron helps your body make more blood so that your baby can get oxygen and make blood.
3. Calcium is another important mineral during pregnancy, and if your diet does not contain enough of it, your body with take calcium from your bones to help your baby. Calcium aids in the development of your babies bones, heart, and other important body makeups.
4. Everyone, including your baby needs Vitamin D to help absorb calcium. Vitamin D is also important for the immune system, as well as muscles and nerve systems.
5. Docosahexaenoic acid, more commonly referred to as DHA, is actually a fat that your baby needs in order to develop his or her brain and eyes.
6. Like DHA, Iodine is important for your baby’s brain development. This mineral is also important for thyroid and nervous system development.
What foods are rich with the nutrients pregnant women need in their diet?
Prenatal vitamins contain several of the key nutrients that your baby needs to grow and develop, but it is still important that your diet contain foods that are rich with folic acid, iron, calcium, vitamin D, DHA, and iodine.
1. Beans provide several macronutrients that promote a healthy pregnancy as well several of the micronutrients we covered earlier including: calcium, folate, and iron. So whether you like beans on their own or in a dish, they are a great component of a pregnant woman’s diet.
2. Vitamin D and DHA, which is also known as omega-3 fatty acid, can be found in salmon. Salmon shouldn’t be eaten too much due to the mercury found in the fish, but since it has a low amount of mercury it is safe for pregnant women to eat up to 12 ounces a week.
3. Yogurt is an excellent source of calcium. Greek yogurt is a great food for pregnant women to enjoy, because not only does it contain a good amount of calcium, but it has twice the protein of regular yogurt.
A proper diet during pregnancy is helpful for both mother and child. By eating a variety of nutritious foods in different food groups, pregnant women can help themselves and their baby to get the nutrients that they need.