Vitamins During Pregnancy
Taking care of our bodies and staying healthy is very important. Vitamins and minerals are essential for our organism to give our body the nutrients it needs to be healthy and fight off harmful, external agents. Vitamins are heterogeneous compounds essential to life. When we take them in a balanced way and in recommended dosage, it promotes proper physiological function. The majority of essential vitamins cannot be produced by the body, which is why we cannot get them except through a balanced intake of natural foods.
Foods rich in vitamins are:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Seeds and grains
- Low mercury fish
- Dairy products
- Lean meats
When you are pregnant, besides eating a healthy and balanced meal, try to incorporate vitamins and proteins into your diet. Avoid junk food! You will also need to add vitamin supplements for the correct development of your baby. This also applies to women who wish to become pregnant and for those who already have a family and are nursing. You will need vitamin supplements because those produced by your body or the ones you eat, are not enough for the correct and healthy development of your child.
Pregnant women or those who plan to become pregnant take prenatal multivitamins that, among other things, is needed during pregnancy like folic acid.
Folic acid helps to prevent congenital defects in the brain and spinal cord of the baby. A pregnant woman can also be protected against cancer and cerebrovascular accidents.
Pregnant women should get 600 micrograms of folic acid every day in their food and supplements. Folic acid is also found in raw spinach and almonds.
Iron and calcium are other important nutrients for pregnant women. Iron helps the muscles of the both the mom and the baby. It prevents anemia, a condition where red blood cells are too small and too little in a woman’s body. Red calls transport oxygen throughout the mother’s and the baby’s body. It reduces the risk of preterm birth and low weight at the time of birth. Red, lean meats, fish (sardines, small hake…) and especially crustaceans like (mussels, clams, mollusks) provide the iron that the body needs. Combining these vitamin rich foods with vitamin C also promotes the absorption of iron in the blood.
Calcium, on the other hand, helps to keep the bones and teeth strong in both mother and child. It also helps the nervous, muscular and circulatory system to stay healthy. Dairy products, green leafy vegetables like broccoli, kale, mustard, turnips and bok choy or Chinese cabbage are great sources of calcium.
Other sources of calcium are:
- Salmon (Cooked during pregnancy) and canned sardines with soft bones.
- Almonds, Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, tahini and dry legumes.
- Residual molasses.
On the other hand, Docosahexaenoic acid or DHA, is an Omega 3 fatty acid that helps the development and function of the brain and eyes of the baby. At least 200 milligrams of DHA should be consumed on a daily basis.
Iodine is also essential for the healthy function of the thyroids of the woman during pregnancy. Iodine deficiency can cause delayed physical growth, acute mental retardation and deafness. Insufficient Iodine can lead to miscarriage and stillbirth.
Search for a prenatal vitamin that includes:
- 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid.
- 400 UI of vitamin D.
- 200 a 300 milligrams (mg) of calcium.
- 70 mg of vitamin C.
- 3 mg of vitamin B1 (thiamine)
- 2 mg of riboflavin.
- 20 mg of niacin.
- 6 mcg of vitamin B12.
- 10 mg of vitamin E.
- 15 mg of zinc.
- 17 mg of iron.
- 150 micrograms of Iodine
Remember: Before you take any vitamin supplement or if you have doubts, always consult your doctor. Prenatal vitamins are sold without prescription and easily found in pharmacies, and supermarkets in the perfume section. Be careful of the medications and foods you should avoid during pregnancy or if you plan to become pregnant. For example, raw fish, fermented cheese, alcohol, other substances, etc.
Until the next time!