Apart from the sheer excitement of being pregnant and finding that pram you’ve always wanted, we can’t forget nutritional support, it’s your number one priority, right from the very beginning.
Being pregnant is very demanding on your bodies nutritional needs, not only from the demands of your own body but the growth and development of a brand new baby.
Nearly all women can benefit from nutritional and multivitamin supplementation four to twelve months before and all during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Preconception, pregnancy and breastfeeding bring their own nutritional needs and demands at different stages as baby’s growth continues.
The 4 key nutrients to consider for optimal health throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding are:
1) Folic Acid (B9)
Folic acid is the only Vitamin whose requirement doubles during pregnancy. Its most well known role, is helping to support development of the neural tube. Deficiencies of folic acid have been linked to low birth weight infants and neural tube defects.
However, unlike some nutrients, our body cannot produce folate, so we are totally reliant on our dietary sources and supplementation.
Your daily supplement should be at least 500 ug.
2) Vitamin D
Some may think being outside in the sunshine is enough for healthy vitamin D levels, not exactly. Australia and New Zealand are documented to have some of the worst levels of vitamin D, with 89% of us deficient.
This wonder vitamin, is crucial for a healthy immune system and plays a critical role in our body’s immune defense from the time we are in utero. Replenishing depleted stores can be a little trickier than you would first think. Any levels below 65 are classified as not sufficient and supplementation should be considered. Optimal levels of this immune supporting vitamin are between 85 – 150. If you haven’t recently had your levels checked, it’s recommended you visit your GP.
3) Essential fatty acids (fish oil)
Essential fatty acids (EFAs) play a big role throughout a pregnancy because of the rapid development of new cell growth. Fetal development is associated with a high EFA requirement, and this supply is dependent on the amount and availability of EFAs from the mother.
The Mother’s need for the essential fatty acids decrease throughout the pregnancy, however for the fetus, a deficiency of EFAs, particularly EPA and DHA , may lead to a poorly developed central nervous system.
The demand for iron is on the rise through all three trimesters as baby grows. Iron works in combination with B9 and B12 in the development of baby’s DNA so is essential to a healthy baby.
Feeling fatigued and tired is normal as you create life through pregnancy; however a deficiency in iron on top of this can really make life very difficult, especially if you have a toddler on your toes as well.
Do you have anything else to add to this list? Please share in the comments below.