Nutrients For A Healthy Pregnancy
By: Jenny Tschiesche BSc(Hons) Dip(ION) FdSc BANT
Nutrients for a healthy pregnancy
Eating well and supplementing correctly is part and parcel of a healthy pregnancy. That should go without saying. However, what is not often considered is the fact that pre-natal and pregnancy nutrition and to be honest even post-partum nutrition is about the health of two human beings – the mother and the child. This is a time where great emphasis should be placed on the physiologic demands of pregnancy and the metabolic demands of the baby growing.
Whilst nutrient deficiencies can result in congenital abnormalities and birth defects they can also lead to increased risk of longer-term health issues such as diabetes, heart problems and stroke. Supplementing correctly during pregnancy is important with particular focus on folate and iron.
Iron-deficiency is common during pregnancy. This is because there is more blood circulating around your body which increases your need for iron from your diet. Many fail to consume enough iron rich foods to serve the increased needs of mum and baby.
Folate deficiency is also common during pregnancy. Whilst you can try and make up for some of that deficiency with folate rich foods it is also advised that you supplement with folic acid. Folic acid has been shown to be particularly easily broken down and absorbed in gummy form when compared to tablet form. https://academic.oup.com/cdn/article/4/Supplement_2/1846/5845719
You can also easily become deficient in omega 3 fatty acids. Whilst you can obtain these from oily fish if you’re vegetarian and don’t consume animal products then you can also get DHA from a vegetarian source like algae. If you’re vegetarian and pregnant then you should also look to supplement vitamin B12, zinc, and iron.
Lastly, many studies show the benefits to both mum and baby of supplementing probiotics during pregnancy and in the early months of breast feeding. Not only can mum benefit by reducing some of the unwanted side effects of pregnancy such as morning sickness and reflux but your growing baby can also benefit. By taking probiotics during pregnancy, you’ll help your baby develop his or her own healthy microbiome, helping him or her to get the right start to good gut health. A healthy microbiome will lay the foundation for good health, reducing their chances of experiencing atopic diseases and weight issues whilst also boosting the immune system.
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