As a parent, you want your child to succeed from the very beginning. One way to do this is to start when you’re pregnant! The proper diet will provide both you and your growing child with the vitamins and nutrients you need to stay in good health. Some mothers may also consider taking a prenatal vitamin supplement and any other supplements that a doctor suggests if you have any deficiencies. The following are a few suggestions for a healthy diet, but make sure you talk to your doctor about exactly what you need.
Folate and Folic Acid
Folate is a B vitamin that’s very important in protecting your growing child. The vitamin helps prevent brain and spinal abnormalities, as well as neural tube defects. Incorporating folic acid into your diet or through a supplement can also decrease the risk of premature birth. You should take between 400 and 1,000 micrograms of folic acid or folate a day before conception and pregnancy.
Some of the best sources of folates are citrus fruits, leafy greens, dried beans, and peas. Fortified cereals are also rich in folic acid.
Calcium helps strengthen your child’s bones and teeth. Its benefits don’t end there. Calcium also boosts your circulatory, muscular, and nervous systems. Did you know it also prevents blood clots?
You’ll need between 1,000 and 1,300 mg of calcium a day. You can find it in dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese. Non-dairy sources include fish, green leafy vegetables, bread, and cereals.
You also need plenty of protein. Experts recommend 71 grams a day. Protein plays a vital role in your baby’s growth. It aids in the creation of amino acids and repairs cells.
Lean meats, poultry, and fish are all great sources of protein. Other options include dairy products, lentils, eggs, and nuts.
Iron helps produce hemoglobin, a protein in your red blood cells responsible for transporting oxygen to your tissues. If you’re pregnant, you need double the amount of iron your body required before, as your body needs more to provide oxygen to your baby.
Medical professionals suggest 27 mg a day. The best sources of iron are lean red meat, poultry, fish, and iron-fortified breakfast cereals. Other good sources include spinach, beans, and dried fruits.
This is a simple overview of a few of the nutrients you’ll need during your pregnancy. Consult your doctor for more detailed information about your diet and any supplements.