Pregnancy care involves a balance of nutrition and optimum personal hygiene. Enjoying a healthy and vivid diet in pregnancy allows you to make the most out of the three trimesters. Pregnancy includes physiological changes resulting in increased plasma volume. The other physiological changes in pregnancy are a rise in red blood cells and a decrease in the concentration of proteins and micronutrients that bind nutrients. Nutrition in pregnancy starts always with taking the necessary steps. The steps may include taking prenatal vitamins and designing a balanced diet. Pregnancy tips on safety and nutrition may mainly include a full-fledged dietary regimen. It may follow clinical guidelines depending upon various factors.
Many women prefer attending pregnancy exercise class or aerobics. In a few geographical regions, undernutrition or deficiency may affect the physiological changes of pregnancy. During pregnancy, a baby receives necessary nutrition from the mother. A pregnant woman needs more nutrition from the day she conceives. Make sure that the prenatal vitamins you include have folic acid, calcium and iron in them. Ask your obstetrician/gynaecologist to round off a diet supplying ample vitamin D, DHA and iodine each day.
As the name suggests, prenatal vitamins are the multivitamins for pregnant women or those willing to conceive. Contrary to regular vitamins, prenatal vitamins contain major ingredients you need for a healthy pregnancy. It’s great to follow the multivitamin prescribed by an obstetrician or midwife.
Your body thrives on the nutrients, minerals and other nutritional availabilities in the food. If you are a vegetarian or prone to food allergies, your healthcare provider may prescribe a suitable supplement. Some supplements will help you get the most out of the nutritional availabilities.
How does your nutritional journey start with prenatal vitamins?
Prenatal vitamins allow you to get the right nutrition throughout the pregnancy.
The ideal prenatal vitamins are:
400 mcg of folic acid
400 IU of vitamin D
2mg of riboflavin
3mg of thiamine
6mcg of vitamin B12
10mg of vitamin E
15mg of zinc
17mg of iron
150 mcg of iodine
200-300 mg of calcium
70 mg of vitamin C
20mg of niacin
Folate is a B vitamin aiding the process of DNA synthesis, foetal growth and development and red blood cell production. Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate available in various supplements. The body receives an active form of folate with folic acid. The active form of folate the body gets is called L-methyl folate. Expert obstetricians recommend at least 400 mcg of folate or folic acid to cut the risk of neural tube defects and congenital malformations. Folate is essential to prevent the abnormalities such as heart defects and cleft palate.
The iron requirement of pregnant women rises drastically due to the rise in maternal blood volume by 45%. Iron is irreplaceable in pregnancy for various reasons. Iron promotes oxygen transport and the healthy development of your baby and placenta. Various health issues are linked to the lack or scarcity of iron in pregnancy. Maternal depression, infant anaemia and preterm delivery are the 3 main health issues due to lack of iron in pregnancy. 17mg of iron per day is enough to meet the nutritional requirement. Your obstetricians may recommend higher doses of iron if you are suffering or have suffered from anaemia. Don’t exceed the dosage recommended by your obstetrician. An excessive dose of iron may cause nausea, constipation and abnormally high haemoglobin.
- Vitamin D
Vitamin D deficiency in pregnancy may increase the risk of caesarean section, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes and preterm birth. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin aiding various functions such as immune responses, bone health and cell division. The recommended intake of vitamin D in pregnancy is 400 IU per day. Many experts recommend extensive doses of vitamin D in pregnancy. However, you mustn’t exceed the dose recommended without consulting your obstetrician.
Calcium is a mineral aiding the development of a baby’s bones, heart, muscles, teeth and nerves. The requirement for calcium rises in pregnancy. You may require 200-300 mg of calcium every day when you are pregnant. You may optimise the calcium intake by following the dietary recommendations. You may consider taking more calcium by introducing certain foods to your platter. They may be Broccoli and kale, orange, milk, yoghurt and cheese.
Iodine is a mineral aiding the synthesis of thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones allow the body to reserve and utilize energy from food. Pregnant women require iodine in pregnancy to aid the growth of their baby’s nervous system. The brain, nerves and spinal cord form the nervous system. The nervous system helps the baby to move, feel and think. Pregnant women may seek their obstetrician’s guidance to determine how much iodine they need in pregnancy. Not every prenatal vitamin contains iodine. The total amount of iodine needed in pregnancy may differ from person to person. Make sure that you are regularly consuming the foods that contain iodine.
Thiamine usage is recommended based on the obstetrician’s guidance. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for thiamine in pregnancy is 1.4mg/day regardless of the pregnant woman’s age. Some obstetricians may recommend 3mg of thiamine in pregnancy. Women carrying more than one foetus may require a higher dose of thiamine.
Women trying to conceive should try to increase the intake of zinc. Both the partners should introduce zinc to their regular diet. It’s unlikely for you to suffer from a deficiency of zinc provided your diet is healthy and balanced. The recommended intake of zinc is 8mg per day for adult women. Your obstetrician may recommend an intake of up to 12mg or 15mg of zinc per day in pregnancy and lactation.
- Vitamin E:
Vitamin E helps in the production and nourishment of red blood cells, eyes and healthy skin. It promotes a healthy immune response. It’s best to include a healthy amount of vitamin E in your platter based on your obstetrician’s guidance. The recommended daily intake of vitamin E in pregnancy is 3mg. A healthy and balanced diet should suffice. If your medical history denotes higher doses of vitamin E, your obstetrician may recommend a dose of up to 10mg.
Riboflavin is vitamin B2. Riboflavin is essential in the maintenance of various tissues of the body. Riboflavin is used to treat or prevent deficiency of vitamin B2. Ask your obstetrician if it’s safe for you to administer riboflavin in your regular diet. Your obstetrician may study the medical history. If you have a history of cirrhosis or other liver disease or any gallbladder issues, riboflavin should be carefully used. Don’t use riboflavin without your obstetrician’s advice.
Niacin or Nicotinic acid (Vitamin B3) is a water-soluble chemical. Nicotinamide is another form of Vitamin B3 available for human consumption. Niacin plays a crucial role in the growth and development of the foetus. Niacin may help prevent birth defects and miscarriage. It may be essential in the baby’s brain development. It energizes us. It provides optimum nutrition for the skin and other organs. It helps reduce nausea and improve digestive power. Niacin is also linked to a reduction in migraines. The recommended intake of niacin is 20mg.
- Vitamin B12:
Vitamin B12 is vital in the production of red blood cells. It may help nourish the nerve tissue. The deficiency of vitamin B12 may lead to anaemia, nerve damage and brain damage. 6mcg of vitamin B12 may be essential in pregnancy. If you need higher doses of vitamin B12, your obstetrician may recommend them based on your medical history and current health status.
- Vitamin C:
Proper intake of vitamin C helps reduce the risk of placental abruption. Vitamin C alone helps reduce the risk of preterm labour and prelabour rupture of membranes (PROM). However, some studies suggest that vitamin C in combination with vitamin E raises the risk of PROM. Pregnant women should be careful while including vitamin C in the platter. We recommend that you seek your obstetrician’s guidance on the amount of vitamin C to include in your platter.