You’re pregnant! Congratulations! You must be hearing that a lot. What you might not be hearing a lot of is what you should put into your body now that you’re expecting.
You know you want to keep your diet as healthy and clean as possible. You also know there are certain nutrients and vitamins you should incorporate into your diet. You’re just not exactly sure which healthy supplements you need for your nutritional needs for pregnancy.
Here’s how to choose the best prenatal supplements.
Maintaining a healthy diet when you’re pregnant is key to the development of your child. You need a balance of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and fats.
When you’re pregnant, your body needs even more nutrients, vitamins and minerals. You need to consume 350-500 extra calories each day during your second and third trimester. These calories shouldn’t be coming from a quarter pounder with cheese and a side of fries.
Instead, make to get these calories by eating more of these foods.
Milk, cheese, eggs, and yogurt are rich in calcium and protein and are essential to the growth of your fetus.
Lentils, peas, beans, chickpeas, soybeans, and peanuts, are excellent sources of plant-based fiber, protein, iron, folate (B9) and calcium, which your body needs during pregnancy.
Most pregnant women do not consume enough folate (B9). B9 deficiency has many negative health effects, like an increased risk of low birth weight. Low folate also makes your child more prone to infections and diseases later in life.
Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene, which your body converts to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is crucial for your baby’s fetal development. Pregnant women are typically advised to increase their vitamin A intake by 10-40%.
Pregnant women are also advised to avoid a lot of animal-based sources of vitamin A, which can cause toxicity when eaten in excess. Plant-based source of vitamin A like sweet potatoes are the way to go.
Vitamin A is essential for growth, as well as for the differentiation of most cells and tissues. It is very important for healthy fetal development.
In addition to a balanced diet and eating certain foods that are high in vitamins and minerals, you’ll also need prenatal vitamins.
Prenatal vitamins make sure you and your baby have all the essential vitamins and minerals during pregnancy. Some doctors recommend additional vitamins and minerals along with prenatal vitamins if you have any deficiencies.
It is important to note that supplements do not replace a healthy diet. Prenatal vitamins ensure a pregnant woman is getting enough daily nutrients.
Taking prenatal vitamins before you try to conceive can help decrease nausea, boost fertility, and reduce the risk of birth defects. Here are the vitamins and minerals you want to look for in your prenatal vitamin.
Healthy Supplements Your Prenatal Vitamins Should Have
Please note, these are suggestions. If you are pregnant you should consult with your doctor to see if these suggestions are right for you.
It’s important to make sure you’re getting enough of each vitamin and mineral. Make sure you don’t exceed the daily maximum of each vitamin and mineral to avoid overdose and toxicity.
Vitamin A & Beta Carotene
Vitamin A and Beta Carotene help bones and teeth grow. Some of the sources of these valuable nutrients are
- sweet potatoes
- liver milk
- green and yellow vegetables
- yellow fruits
Vitamin D helps your body use calcium and phosphorus while promoting strong teeth and bones for your baby. It’s found in milk, fatty fish, and sunshine.
Vitamin E is essential for the body to make and use red blood cells and muscles. Vegetable oil, wheat germ, nuts, spinach, and fortified cereals contain the vitamin.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that protects tissues from damage. It’s also essential to help the body absorb iron, especially when that iron is plant-based. Vitamin C is also crucial to building and maintaining a healthy immune system.
Vitamin C is in citrus fruits, bell peppers, green beans, strawberries, papaya, potatoes, broccoli, and tomatoes.
You need Thiamin/B1 to raise energy levels and to help regulate your baby’s nervous system. You can find Thiamin and B1 in whole grains, fortified cereals, wheat germ, organ meats, eggs, rice, pasta, berries, nuts, legumes, and pork.
Riboflavin, or B2, maintain energy, develops good eyesight and healthy skin. It’s found in meats, poultry, fish, dairy, fortified cereals, and eggs.
Niacin/B3 is vital for healthy skin, nerves, and your digestive system. It’s packed in high-protein foods, fortified cereals, and bread, meats, fish, milk, eggs, and peanuts.
Like vitamin E, Pyridoxine/ B6 also helps form red blood cells and helps reduce morning sickness. You can find it in chicken, fish, liver, pork, eggs, soybeans, carrots, cabbage, cantaloupe, peas, spinach, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, bananas, beans, broccoli, brown rice, oats, bran, peanuts, and walnuts.
B12 is crucial for DNA synthesis and can even help prevent neural tube defects. You can find it in shellfish, fish, beef, liver, pork, eggs, dairy, poultry.
Folic Acid is crucial to help support the placenta, prevent spina bifida and neural tube defects. It’s found in oranges, strawberries, green leafy vegetables, spinach, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, fortified cereals, peas, pasta, beans, and nuts.
Calcium helps your baby have healthy bones and teeth, prevents blood clots, and ensures the proper function of muscles and nerves. You can find it in yogurt, milk, cheddar cheese, dark leafy green, canned fish with bones, calcium-fortified foods like soy milk, juices, bread, and cereals.
You need iron for the production of hemoglobin, which helps prevent anemia, low birth weight, and premature delivery. You can get it from beef, pork, dried beans, spinach, dried fruits, wheat germ, oatmeal or grains fortified with iron
Protein is key to help in the production of amino acids and to repair cells. You can get it in most animal foods, meat, poultry, eggs, dairy products, veggie burgers, beans, legumes, nuts.
The body needs zinc to produce insulin and enzymes. You can get it from red meats, poultry, beans, nuts, whole grains, fortified cereals, oysters, and dairy products.
Hopefully, this information helps you feel ready for your pregnancy. Now you know what healthy supplements to look out for in your prenatal vitamins and diet.
Knowing what you’re putting into your body is key. Try to load up on the vitamin and mineral rich foods mentioned above to get those extra calories your body needs. And remember, healthy supplements and healthy foods are like love and marriage.
You can’t have one without the other.
Contact us for more information on vitamins and healthy supplements.