As an expecting mom you’ll want to do your best to make sure that your baby is as healthy as possible. What you eat is critical during this time, as everything your baby needs comes from you. Prenatal vitamins are supplements which can be taken during pregnancy which contain needed vitamins and minerals.
What vitamins and minerals are essential and why?
During pregnancy your vitamin and mineral needs will change as you now have a growing baby to provide for. Your food should contain much of the vitamins and minerals needed during pregnancy, particularly if you are already following a healthy, balanced diet.
Folic acid and iron are typically found in most prenatal vitamins and are essential in a healthy pregnancy. Folic acids helps to prevent neural tube defects and iron supports healthy growth, helping prevent anemia and blood (in both mom and baby) carry oxygen
Vitamin D, calcium and iodine are other important nutrients that are needed during pregnancy. Vitamin D aids in the development of the bones, teeth and nervous system, calcium helps bone and teeth development and iodine is important in brain development.
Getting the correct micronutrients is important. Deficiencies can lead to complications such as hypertension and a low birth weight. However, it’s also important not to exceed the healthy amount of certain vitamins and minerals – too much vitamin A, for example, can cause birth defects.
What foods should I be eating?
Prenatal vitamins are a good idea to cover any nutritional gaps you may have, while they may supplement your diet they don’t replace a healthy lifestyle. Therefore, eating correctly also greatly benefits you and your growing baby.
Foods you should try include in your diet are dairy products, such as milk and yogurt, as they contain extra protein and calcium, as well as probiotics. Legumes, such as lentils and soybeans are another good food to include – these contain protein, fibre and folate (which is very important during pregnancy). Sweet potatoes, high in vitamin A and fibre, are another good veggie to add to the shopping list. Eggs, broccoli, lean meat and berries are other wholesome foods you should be including in your diet.
A healthy pregnancy benefits both you and your baby in the long run, not only does it ensure that you deliver a healthy baby, but helps your child throughout adulthood development.