5 Essential Prenatal Nutrients
Proper nutrition is important at any stage in life but it is especially important for women who are pregnant or even thinking about getting pregnant. Creating a healthy baby takes a lot of extra nutrients so the baby has all the building blocks it needs to develop properly and the mother has the extra nutrients to stay healthy and energetic throughout the pregnancy.
Essential Prenatal NutrientsIt is recommended that women start taking prenatal vitamins before they get pregnant to give their bodies the important nutrition the baby will need as soon as it’s conceived. The important nutrients you need to get pregnant are also the ones you need once you are pregnant.
- Folate: Also known as vitamin B9, Folate helps prevent neural tube, brain and spinal defects in the baby. It’s recommended that a woman take it three months prior to conception. You can boost your folate intake through diet too by eating dried peas and beans, citrus fruits, asparagus and leafy green vegetables but a vitamin supplement is recommended.
- Iron: The amount of blood in your body nearly doubles when you are pregnant and it’s important to get enough iron to make more hemoglobin and avoid becoming anemic. Dark leafy greens, prunes, red meat, poultry, and beans are all good sources of iron in your diet. It’s also been recommended to combine it with citrus or tomatoes to help absorption.
- Vitamin D: Our bodies use Vitamin D for so many different processes that it is important for nearly everyone to take. Pregnant women or women who are trying to get pregnant need it for brain function and mood, immunity, and blood pressure regulation. It also helps the baby develop healthy teeth, bones and immune system. Foods that contain some Vitamin D are fatty fish such as salmon, sardine, whitefish or mackerel as well as eggs.
- Calcium: Calcium helps the circulatory, muscular and nervous systems run properly so it’s important for mother and baby. It also helps the development of healthy bones and teeth. Almonds, collard greens, sesame seeds, white beans and sardines are all high in calcium. Yogurt, kefir and milk from goats, or cows also have calcium.
- Omega-3 oils: (Otherwise known as EPA/DHA or fish oils). Our bodies use Omega-3 oils to build every cell which makes it extremely important at any stage of life. DHA is especially important for developing a healthy brain and cognitive abilities in developing babies and children. You can get healthy oils in your diet by increasing your consumption of nuts, seeds and fatty fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines but taking it in supplement form is often recommended to get high enough doses. Be careful that you are getting it from a reputable source that makes sure the oil is free from contaminates such as mercury.