Although you may be busy right now getting ready for the holidays, here’s an article you’ll appreciate if you’re an expecting Mom (or planning to be one soon). Guest blogger, Savannah Coulsen, is here today to remind us how important it is for women to know which vitamins and minerals they need to consume for a healthy baby.
Prenatal nutrition is a simple equation. Everything that Mom eats, baby absorbs. Essential vitamins, nutrients and proteins work to combat common birth defects and to improve the baby’s overall health upon delivery.
A diet rich in folic acid can reduce the risk of spinal cord birth defects. Moms should eat whole grain cereals, breads and pastas. A vitamin supplement is usually needed to achieve doctor-recommended levels.
To get enough iron during pregnancy, doctors recommend a diet rich in leafy greens, spinach, kale, beans and fortified cereals. Red meat, chicken and fish are also on the menu for those who aren’t vegetarians/vegans. Foods with vitamin C should be eaten with iron-rich foods to increase absorption. According to board-certified obstetrician Gilbert Webb MD, anemia is a leading cause of fatigue in pregnancy, and it can lead to complications for baby. Regular prenatal visits are needed because, even with good nutrition, the risk of anemia remains throughout pregnancy.
Without adequate calcium in the mother’s diet, the baby’s bones, teeth, heart, muscles and nerves will suffer. That’s why expectant women must increase their intake of milk products, naturally rich in calcium. This includes low fat milk, yogurt, and cheese. For non-dairy sources, women can opt for calcium-fortified cereals and non-dairy milks such as almond or coconut.
Protein encourages cell growth and repair. That’s why doctors recommend that expectant mothers eat some protein at every meal. Sources, in addition to meats, include beans, peas, tofu, nuts, peanut butter, dairy products, and eggs.
Gestational diabetes increases the risk of premature delivery. Other dangers include a large birth weight and the need for a Cesarean delivery. In rare instances, it leads to fetal or neonatal death. Research shows that mothers can greatly reduce their risks through nutrition. This means eating a healthy diet, eliminating junk food, and watching caloric intake.
Supplements and Monitoring
Good nutrition is essential to the delivery of a healthy baby, but there are factors out of Mom’s control. That’s why, for even the healthiest eaters, a regular multivitamin is recommended. Furthermore, regular prenatal care is essential to monitoring both the mother’s and the baby’s health. Anemia, gestational diabetes and other threats may be reduced but the dangers remain, due to genetics and other factors.
With its partner prenatal care, prenatal nutrition can go a long way to ensure a healthy pregnancy for both baby and mother. To find a doctor for more information on nutrition use a site like ZocDoc.
About the Author
Savannah Coulsen is a freelance writer. She lives in Raleigh. Savannah loves to read and write and she hopes to write a novel someday. Savannah also loves learning and is a self-proclaimed health guru.
Are there any nutrients you’d add to this list?