Pregnancy & Nutrition
Updated: Nov 1
Nutrition, even pre-conception, is important to focus on and will set the pregnant parent, as well as the growing baby, up for further success.
It is recommended to start focusing on healthier eating habits about three months prior to conception.
Establishing healthy nutritional habits from both partners is crucial for fertility, and allowing the growing fetus to optimally develop.
What exactly is good nutrition and why is it important during pregnancy?
Nutrition is about eating a healthy and balanced diet so your body gets the nutrients that it needs. Nutrients are substances in foods that our bodies need so they can function and grow. They include carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and water.
When you're pregnant, nutrition is more important than ever. You need more of many important nutrients than you did before pregnancy. Making healthy food choices every day will help you give your baby what he or she needs to develop. It will also help make sure that you and your baby gain the proper amount of weight.
Do I have any special nutrition needs now that I'm pregnant?
Here is a list below of important nutrients to focus on incorporating even prior to conception, and continuing throughout pregnancy. Whole food forms are encouraged, however, supplements are also a great way to begin adding these to your diet!
Folate: Folate is important in neural tube defects such as Spina Bifida, and if often difficult for the body to properly absorb from food source, therefore further supplementation is often recommended. This is a crucial vitamin to begin prior to conception, or as soon as the pregnant person finds out that they are expecting.
Calcium: Calcium is important to build baby’s bones and teeth, as well as support the pregnant person during this taking time on one’s body. Calcium is also helpful in decreasing risks of hypertension and pre-eclampsia. Whole food forms of calcium consist of broccoli, dark greens such as kale, and almonds.
Vitamin B Complex: Generally, a Vitamin B complex consists of at least vitamin B6, ( and 12, however some may contain other forms of vitamin B. Vitamin B6 is helpful in decreasing morning sickness and nausea during pregnancy. Vitamin B12 is important for maintaining the health of our nervous system and is also helpful in aiding in the mechanism of secretion and milk forming during lactation. Whole food forms of Vitamin B6 and 12 consist of mushrooms, fortified foods, nutritional yeast, avocados, bananas, and eggs.
Zinc: Zinc is an important nutrient for brain and cell development of the growing baby, and is also helpful in strengthening the immune system for both the baby and pregnant parent. Whole food forms of Zinc consist of Lentils, pumpkin seeds, split peas, peanut butter, and beef.
Magnesium: Magnesium is an essential mineral, important in maintaining nerve and cell function, regulating body temperature and also may help to reduce fetal growth restriction, increase birth weight and decrease chances of pre-eclampsia. Whole food sources consist of whole grains, dark leafy vegetables, legumes and yogurt.
Iron: Supplementing with iron may be recommended in order to prevent iron- deficiency anemia during pregnancy. Iron is important to focus on during pregnancy due to the increased demand with an increase in blood volume. Iron is used to make more oxygenated blood to deliver to the baby. Whole food sources consist of fortified cereals, tofu, lean red meat spinach, broccoli, nuts and dried fruits.
Hydration: Increasing hydration during pregnancy is important because the body is producing more fluids and water assists with this process. Fluids such as an increase in blood volume as discussed above, amniotic fluid and fluids to rid wastes and toxins in the body. Oftentimes during pregnancy, there is an increased amount of sweating due to hyperactive adrenal glands and thyroid, therefore an even larger amount of water intake is necessary.
What are some good foods that provide nutrition for pregnant women?
Vegetables: carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, spinach, cooked greens, tomatoes and red sweet peppers (for Vitamin A and Potassium)
Fruits: cantaloupe, honeydew, mangoes, prunes, bananas, apricots, oranges, and red or pink grapefruit (Potassium)
Dairy: fat-free or low-fat yogurt, skim or 1% milk, soymilk (Calcium, Potassium, Vitamins A + D)
Grains: ready-to-eat cereals/cooked cereals (Iron and Folic Acid)
Proteins: beans and peas; nuts and seeds; lean beef, lamb and pork; salmon, trout, herring, sardines and pollock
How much should I eat during pregnancy?
If you are pregnant with one fetus, you need an extra 340 calories per day starting in the second trimester (and a bit more in the third trimester). That's roughly the calorie count of a glass of skim milk and half a sandwich. Women carrying twins should consume about 600 extra calories a day, and women carrying triplets should take in 900 extra calories a day.
Did you know?
ANH Wellness also has an online shop where you can find many products to help expecting mothers navigate this journey. We have an immense list of our top recommended products, so that you can order at your convenience and continue your care plan at home.
If you are finding this page and unsure what would be best for you, please don't hesitate to contact us at ANHWellnessROC@gmail.com to ensure the correct purchase!
Even if you eat a healthy diet, you can miss out on key nutrients. Taking a daily prenatal vitamin — ideally starting at least three months before conception — can help fill any gaps.
Your health care provider might recommend special supplements if you follow a strict vegetarian diet or have a chronic health condition. If you're considering taking an herbal supplement during pregnancy, consult your health care provider first. Some herbal supplements might be harmful to your pregnancy.
By: Dr. Brooke Morphet
Chiropractor at ANH Wellness
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