Although conceiving is a gift of nature, we are obliged to take a few steps before conception to give birth to a healthy infant. Though the child gets the nutrients consumed by the pregnant mother it is also often assumed that the fetus takes in all the nutrients from the mom leaving her without much nutrients for her body. Hence, it becomes absolutely necessary to make a few prominent changes to the supplement intake which ensures good health of the developing fetus and the pregnant lady. A well-balanced diet is the right way to enrich the body with the right nutrients but supplements are also equally important these days owing to lack of wholesome nutrients available in the crops and produce that grow these days. Prenatal vitamin supplements have become a mandatory option along with additional vitamins and other supplements depending on the nature of health of the woman.
Supplements can never become a replacement for a healthy diet but only help the pregnant mother receive her required daily share of nutrients. The recommendations given below help in fulfilling any nutritional gaps in the pregnant woman’s diet during pregnancy.
Prenatal vitamins: Folate supplements are prescribed for women who are on their family way as an important prenatal supplement. These help in safeguarding the developing fetus against neural tube defects that have the potential to harm the brain and spinal cord development of the child. The main reason why these supplements are prescribed even before conception is due to that the neural tube defects occur 28 days within conception-a time during which many women are not even aware of their pregnancy. It is advisable to take at least 400 mg of folic acid supplements while trying to conceive and until your 12thweek of pregnancy. Calcium, iodine and iron are also other important vitamins but ensure to take calcium supplements (if you must) during another time of day as iron and calcium are not good together. Milk, yogurt, cheese, tofu, soya drinks with calcium, green leafy veggies, bread and fish are great foods rich in calcium.
Take vitamin C in the form of produce such as broccoli, strawberries, potatoes, brussels sprouts, bell peppers and oranges to keep each of your cells healthy.
Vitamin D:Supplements of vitamin D are impossible to miss out when one is pregnant. This vitamin is mostly absorbed from exposure to sun as there are not many foods that are rich in vitamin D. This nutrient regulates the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body which is needed to keep the bones and teeth healthy. Every pregnant and breastfeeding woman should consume a vitamin D supplement containing 10 mcg of vitamin D daily. Low vitamin D levels during pregnancy can lead to risk of preeclampsia, low birth weight infants and neurological diseases.
Iron: This is extremely important for hemoglobin production, prevention of premature delivery, low birth weight infants and anemia. Many foods such as leafy greens, lean meat, dried fruits, beef, pork, beans and grains fortified with iron are good enough to equip your body with the required iron levels but if the physician notices iron levels to be very low it is better to take some iron supplements.
While most nutrients are easily added to the body with the help of a well-balanced vegetarian diet it is quite difficult to get enough iron and vitamin B12. Also, those suffering from food intolerance, restrictions in diet and vegan foods must talk with their physician to bring yourself to eating healthy & nutritious food. Get in touch with registered dietitian nutritionist at www.firsteatright.comto get hold of all the nutritional needs during pregnancy, follow-up on your recommendations and give -birth to a healthy baby.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.