Eating a healthy diet helps one derive all the minerals and vitamins that the body needs. There is a direct link between the food we eat and our body health. Proper nutrition equals good health. This is common during pregnancy since effects of proper nutrition can be seen both in the mother and the baby during and even after pregnancy.
The following are the essential Vitamins and Minerals during pregnancy:
Pregnancy can exhaust a mother’s iron stores. Iron is a vital nutrient since it’s used in formation of hemoglobin in the red blood cells of the mother and the infant. Its intake increases with pregnancy due to increase in blood volume as the pregnancy progresses. – Iron can be obtained from plant and animal products. Absorption of iron is better when taken from animal foods as compared to plant foods Red meat contains the most source of iron as compared to other animal foods such as chicken and fish Iron can also be obtained from dark green vegetables, legumes and cereals. -Taking a glass of fruit juice or food rich in vitamin C after a meal containing iron nutrients increases the absorption of iron into the body as compared to taking a cup of tea or coffee which in fact reduces iron absorption. – Iron deficiency leads to anemia which can result in a. premature birth; b. low birth weight; c. weakness; and d. over-tiredness of mothers.
In pregnancy, vitamin D do not only strengthen a mother’s bones but also provides the baby with vitamin D nutrients which are very important during the first trimester. A mother should take at least 10mcg of vitamin D in a day. Vitamin D also helps regulate the level of calcium and phosphorus in the body hence leading to strong bones and teeth both to the mother and the baby. -The best source of vitamin D is direct sunlight. However, other foods such as breakfast cereals, eggs, fish liver oil, fatty fish and fortified milk contain vitamin D. -Lack of sufficient vitamin D leads to a. softened baby bones; b. rickets; c. retardation; d. skeletal deformation; and e. likelihood of C-section for mothers.
Calcium is important in strengthening a baby’s bones and teeth. It’s also important in development of the nervous system and in muscle contraction in the fetus. On the other hand, it strengthens a mother’s bones, teeth, improves blood clotting and reduces chances of hypertension. Moreover, it’s a natural pain relief during labor for mothers. -Dairy products and fish with edible bones contain a lot of calcium. Breakfast cereals, dried fruits and leafy vegetables also contain calcium nutrients. -Calcium intake levels increases with pregnancy. Calcium deficiency leads to pregnancy and developmental complications in the fetus.
It’s a type of vitamin B which is useful for infant growth and development especially for brain and nervous system development of an infant in the first trimester. Its requirements are more in pregnancy because of the developing baby in the womb. When taken before and during pregnancy, it reduces risks of neural tube defects in pregnancy. -Sources of folic acid are dark green vegetables, citrus fruits, liver, broccoli, pulses, cauliflower and walnuts. -Folic acid intake levels decreases as the pregnancy lengthens. Shortage in intake of folic acid leads to anemia and other birth defects.
There are also supplements of these minerals and vitamins available in maternal hospitals to help mothers maintain right levels of minerals and vitamins consumption throughout pregnancy. With the help of the European health insurance card, a mother can access maternal advice on proper nutrition during pregnancy and even obtain the above minerals and vitamin supplements at the expense of the card.