Maintaining a healthy diet is essential during pregnancy, but even with a diverse menu, you may fall short on key nutrients.
There is widespread evidence now available that demonstrates the importance of dietary supplements and prenatal vitamins for both the mother and baby.
If you have yet to achieve adequate nutrition, or if your cravings are getting the better of you, it’s time to re-evaluate your nutritional needs.
Consult with your healthcare provider on how to adopt a healthier diet in combination with doctor-approved supplements.
Learn more about essential nutrients required by women before, during and after pregnancy.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Research has suggested that increasing a woman’s intake of dietary omega-3 fatty acids during pregnancy can have a number of health benefits.
Omega-3s are believed to offer critical nutrients for the neurological development of babies in the womb, promote the development of baby’s respiratory and cardiac systems, as well as support healthy development of the brain and eyes.
Omega-3 fatty acids have also been shown to increase learning and cognitive function, increase attention span in children, and may even help prevent pre-term labor and premature delivery.
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Low levels of vitamin D during pregnancy have been associated with an increased risk of complications for expecting mothers and developing babies.
The body requires vitamin D to maintain adequate levels of phosphorus and calcium, which help develop healthy teeth and bones.
Vitamin D deficiencies during pregnancy can cause skeletal deformities and growth retardation.
Taking vitamin D supplements may help reduce these risks.
Some women are naturally more at risk for vitamin D deficiency, including women with darker skin tones, women who wear heavy clothing that covers most of the skin, women that use sunscreen heavily, and those living in areas with high urban pollution (smog).
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While iron is essential before pregnancy for the production of hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carry oxygen to other cells, it’s even more important during pregnancy.
During pregnancy, the amount of blood in the body increases until it has reached almost 50 percent more than normal.
Extra iron is needed for the healthy growth of the fetus and placenta, especially during the second and third trimesters.
Iron deficiency is the most common cause of anemia in pregnancy, which can cause preterm delivery, low birth weight, and even infant mortality.
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Role of a Healthy Diet
Pregnancy diets are based around several basic principles: avoid junk food and other empty calories and provide your growing baby with a regular diet of good nutrients.
Much of the essential vitamins and minerals needed during pregnancy come from the foods you eat, but most pregnant women will need an additional 200 to 300 daily calories from nutrient dense foods, such as fruits, vegetables, lean meats, low fat diary, and whole grain products.
Nutrient-rich foods will not only benefit your developing baby and provide protection against some birth defects, but a healthy diet can also help pregnant moms’ stay strong, positive and energized, making coping with pregnancy easier.
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With all of that said, you should avoid taking any diet pills or fat burners like Instant Knockout, as they tend to contain high amounts of caffeine which could be detrimental to the fetus.
Prenatal vitamin supplements consist of a combination of essential vitamins and minerals, such as folic acid and vitamin D.
Eating a healthy diet can provide pregnant women the majority of nutrients they need, but multivitamins are commonly used to fill in any nutritional gaps in the mother’s diet.
Most pregnancy multivitamins give you 100 percent of the recommended daily allowance of all essential vitamins and minerals.
Calcium is not included in the prenatal vitamin as a full day’s supply, and should be supplemented with cheese, milk and other calcium rich foods to meet the daily requirement.
Not all prenatal multivitamins are the same; therefore, it’s essential to consult with your healthcare provider about the best combination of supplements for you.
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