7 Essential Nutrients for Expecting Moms

Your baby depends on you for all their nutritional needs when you are pregnant. Eating well is one of the best ways to ensure you have a healthy pregnancy and have a healthy baby after delivery.

Because of the increased demand for nutrients during pregnancy, you need to consume more than you normally would.

Even in doing so, there are some essential nutrients that you should not forget about, and it is these nutrients we will be discussing below.

7 Essential Nutrients for Expecting Moms

Vitamins

There are two main classes of vitamins you could take, and these are prenatal vitamins and multivitamins. Multivitamins contain different vitamins that are excellent for optimal health, but prenatal vitamins are specially formulated to provide more of the nutrients and vitamins you require during pregnancy.

Your healthcare provider will likely recommend prenatal vitamins during your first visit, and you will need to take them every day when pregnant.

It is also advisable that you start taking prenatal vitamins before you get pregnant so that the nutrients are available for the baby immediately after conception.

Remember that every mom’s needs are different and if you are expecting multiples, i.e., twins, triplets, etc. – you may need higher amounts of prenatal vitamins.

Do talk to your doctor about this so they know what amounts to prescribe.

Folic Acid

Although folic acid is a vitamin (vitamin B) it bears its own section because of how important it is. Every cell in the body needs folic acid to develop healthily.

This is also true for developing babies. Doctors recommend taking folic acid before getting pregnant and during your pregnancy as it can help with the baby’s development while also helping prevent spine and brain complications known as neural tube defects.

Additionally, research shows that taking folic acid before and during your pregnancy can help prevent cleft lip and palate as well as heart defects.

The recommended amount for moms who want to get pregnant is 400mcg of folic acid every day. You can also take this amount if you are not looking to get pregnant because the vitamin has lots of health benefits.

Once you get pregnant, you will need to increase the amount to 600mcg daily. There are lots of prenatal vitamins that contain these amounts so it should not be too difficult to find one.

If your baby is at a higher risk of developing neural tube defects, you need to take 4000 mcg of folic acid starting three months before you get pregnant and during the first 12 weeks of your pregnancy.

This amount is quite high and so you need to talk to your doctor so they can show you how to get this amount safely.

Also, do not take multiple prenatal vitamins or prenatal vitamins. Doing so could lead to consuming larger amounts of other nutrients and this can be harmful to you and the baby.

Collagen

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body as it is found in the bones, skin, cartilage, and everywhere else in the body.

Your body breaks down amino acids that you get from dietary sources to create collagen which is then used for the development or repair of body organs, tissues, cartilage, and skin. 

There are numerous types of collagen in the body, with each made of two or more amino acids, sometimes hundreds of amino acids.

Each of these types of collagen help supports different functions in the body. For example, type 1, the most abundant type in the body, helps support skin, bone, connective tissue, teeth, and tendon health.

So, can you take collagen while pregnant?

Yes, collagen is completely safe as it is found naturally in the food we take as well as our bodies. Collagen has numerous benefits for both the mom and her baby.

Getting enough collagen helps support protein needs during pregnancy while also helping prevent some pregnancy complications like pre-eclampsia, high blood pressure, and gestational diabetes. 

To learn more about collagen and its benefits, read Needed’s guide on why you require collagen during and after your pregnancy. Needed creates prenatal nutrition options that support the health of the mom and baby before, during, and after pregnancy.

All their products are carefully formulated to ensure the mom and baby receive all the essential nutrients they require without adding any fluff as you would find in other supplements.

Iron

Iron is a mineral that is used by the body to make hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is responsible for the transportation of oxygen from your lungs to the rest of the body.

The demand for iron increases when you get pregnant, and this is why you need twice as much during than before your pregnancy.

This iron is used by the body to make more hemoglobin which ensures the transportation of the right amount of oxygen to the developing baby. Additionally, your baby needs iron to make their blood.

Most prenatal vitamins contain 27-30 mg of iron which is the recommended daily amount for pregnant moms. Apart from prenatal vitamins and other supplements, you can also get iron from pasta, cereals, and bread, leafy vegetables, poultry and lean meats, beans, raisins, dried fruits, and nuts.

Because vitamin C helps with the absorption of iron in the body, thus increasing the amount of iron in your body, taking foods with lots of vitamin C also helps. Citrus fruits and certain berries contain high amounts of vitamin C, and this should be included in your plate.

Calcium

Calcium is a mineral that is primarily used in the development of the skeletal systems which includes the bones and teeth.

It also plays an important role in the development of the heart, nerves, and muscles in developing babies. Expecting moms need about 1000 mg of calcium daily. 

In addition to prenatal vitamins, other sources of calcium include kale and broccoli, yogurt, cheese, and milk as well as orange juice fortified with calcium. To find this type of orange juice, check the manufacturer’s label.

The main risk of not getting enough calcium when pregnant is that your body takes it from you and passes it on to the baby.

This can lead to serious complications such as osteoporosis, especially in moms who have had several babies. Your teeth can also be affected and there are cases of women losing their teeth after their second pregnancies due to low calcium levels and intake.

Vitamin D

Apart from helping your body absorb calcium, vitamin D is also important for the development of your baby’s immune system, nerves, and muscles.

By aiding the absorption of calcium, vitamin D helps your baby’s bones and teeth grow, and by helping your baby’s immune system develop, it helps protect them from infections.

Iodine

Iodine is another mineral your body needs. It is used in the production of thyroid hormones that help the body utilize nutrients better.

When taken during pregnancy, iodine aids in the development of your baby’s nervous system. The proper spinal cord, nerve, and brain development are essential for proper speech, movement, and learning.

Expecting moms require 200 mcg of iodine per day, and some excellent sources of the minerals are dairy products, iodized salt, and fortified bread and cereals.

Remaining healthy and receiving all essential nutrients before and during your pregnancy is the best way to ensure a healthy pregnancy and baby.

While you can get the nutrients you require from the food you eat, supplements are a great option, too.

Julie
Author
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