Pregnant? Your body undergoes a lot of changes when you’re bearing a child in your womb. And for both you and the baby’s welfare, it is essential that you eat right. When you’re pregnant, the earlier you start loading up on prenatal vitamins, the better it is for you and the child because the nutrients found in those vitamins are important to the development of your baby’s nerves and spinal cord. And while prenatal vitamins may be available via prescription, there are other inexpensive alternatives that can
be bought over-the counter. Below is an easy guide to the nutrients that you need (and need to avoid) during the course of your pregnancy.
1. Folic acid
Folic acid is an important nutrient during pregnancy. Intake of such is proven to be helpful in lowering the risks of developing any serious birth defects on the baby and also aids in the neural tube development of the fetus. Those women who are classified to be at a higher risk for birth defects due to medications being taken (example: taking of anti-seizure meds) will need to procure a prescription for prenatal vitamin with higher amounts of folic acid.
2. Manage morning sickness
Although morning sickness can be a pretty awful experience, it would be better for your baby if you can somehow eat some food and water and you know, manage to keep it down. If nausea and vomiting in the mornings make it hard for you to keep your prenatal vitamins down, it’s better to start taking it at night. Talking to your doctor about an anti-nausea medication may also be a good idea. Also make sure to mention to your doctor any other vitamins that you have been taking so you won’t be taking any more of the recommended amount of any one nutrient at a time.
3. Load up on folate
Folate can be very good for the body, especially for expecting mothers. It can be gotten from a lot of veggies and fruits including lentils, spinach, edamame, beans, citrus fruits, asparagus and more. Other foods are folate-fortified and can help pregnant women lower their baby’s risks for developing any birth
4. Eat a lot of iron
If you’re a meat eater, it’s easy to complete your daily recommended iron needs. There’s roughly 3.5mg of iron in a 6-oz sirloin steak and about 2mg iron in a 6-oz chicken breast. Eggs can also be a great source of iron for meat-eaters. In terms of veggies, those that are rich in iron include apricots, lentils, Swiss
chards, spinach and beans. The only catch in this is iron from veggies and fruits are not as easily absorbed in the body unlike those that come from meats and other animal products. To help your body absorb more iron, you may try eating it along with
a good source of vitamin C. For example, you may want to squeeze a bit of lemon juice to your beans or lentils or add a slice of red pepper to your spinach salad. And if you want to do a shortcut to getting your daily fill of iron, you can eat some fortified cereal and be on your way.
5. Get rid of anemia
During pregnancy, the amount of blood that goes surging through your veins tends to increase by 40%, and to produce that amount of blood—you’ll need lots of iron. Unfortunately, statistically speaking, half of the total number of pregnant women doesn’t get enough iron in their bodies in the course of their
pregnancy leading to cases of anemia. Severe anemia may lead to low birth weight and preterm deliveries. Notable symptoms of anemia may include dizziness, fatigue, irregular heart rate, pale skin, and cold hands and feet. To combat the occurrence of anemia, make sure that your prenatal vitamins contain a decent amount of iron (at least 30 mg) and try to get some more from your daily diet.