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Getting the Right Nutrition During Pregnancy

Posted on 10/04/2013 in Well Being

Bringing a new life into the world is a big responsibility for expectant mums, and nothing is more important than maintaining a healthy diet during pregnancy. Pregnancy puts a lot of demand on your body, and feeding it the right nutrients will not only keep you healthy and happy, but your baby as well. Besides good 
maternity clothes and shoes, eating healthy is another great way to keep your growing body comfortable, too. There are many nutrients required to support a growing baby, and the following are the ones you should pay particular attention to.

Calcium

In your third trimester, your growing baby requires calcium for healthy bones. However, since your body becomes more efficient at absorbing calcium during pregnancy, you required daily intake stays the same at 1000mg per day. This translates to 3-4 servings of dairy, with one serving roughly equalling a 250mL glass of milk, a 200g tub of yoghurt or two slices of cheese. Vegetables that also contain calcium include collard greens, soybeans, spinach, kelp and celery.

Folate

Folate is one of the B vitamins that can be found in green leafy vegetables, fruit such as citrus, berries and bananas, and legumes. It’s known as folic acid when it’s added to food or used in a 
maternity
dietary supplement, and is required for preventing the risk of some neural tube conditions such as spina bifida. The National Health and Medical Research Council recommends that, in addition to a diet rich in folate, pregnant women should aim to get an extra 400 micrograms in the month before conception and for three months afterwards.

Iron

In your second and third trimesters, the volume of blood in your body increases to meet the needs of the placenta and growing baby, so eating food rich in iron will help you avoid deficiency during this time. Organic red meat is the richest source of the most easily digested iron, but organic chicken, pork and fish also contain moderate levels. Iron can also be found in legumes, green leafy vegetables and iron-fortified cereals.

Iodine

Your growing baby requires iodine for brain and nervous system development. When pregnant, your iodine requirements increase by 47 per cent, and then by 80 per cent while breastfeeding. While dairy, seafood and fortified bread often contain natural sources of iodine, the best way to get enough is often through supplements.

Zinc

Zinc is required for growth and development of the brain and many other parts of the body. Luckily, you can easily get enough zinc through your diet alone, as it is readily absorbed from animal sources like organic red meat, fish and dairy. You can also get it from plant sources like nuts, legumes and cereals.

Protein

Protein is required for a baby to grow, and is also required for your own body. If you’re eating a healthy, well-balanced diet filled with some of the foods mentioned previously, then you’ll be getting enough protein to meet the needs of your body and your baby’s.

Eating a safe and balanced diet is extremely important during pregnancy. Your diet should be varied and include the five food groups with plenty of fruit and vegetables. For more individual dietary advice, make sure to talk to your health care provider or dietician to ensure you’re getting the nutrients you need.


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