Pregnancy Nutrition: Focus on These Essential Nutrients

    pregnancy nutrition

    Martin Alvarez

    Martin Alvarez
    Nutritionist/Dietitian Professional Guide

    Updated on 11/26/2022

    For your unborn child to benefit from your pregnancy nutrition, it must be balanced and healthy. You need to get familiar with the nutrients your body requires the most and the sources of these nutrients.

    When pregnant, Focus on These Essential Nutrients is essential to continue to follow the fundamentals of healthy eating: consuming a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats while following the principles of healthy eating. However, some nutrients in a pregnant woman's diet require additional focus and attention. The following are the essential items:

    Folate and Folic Acid Affection

    Folate and Folic Acid

     

    Folate is a type of vitamin B that plays an essential role in preventing severe problems that can arise when the brain and spinal cord are developing (neural tube defects) that can result from the structure of the brain and spinal cord. Folic acid refers to the synthetic form of folate found in many dietary supplements and foods that have been fortified with extra folate. Several studies have shown that taking folic acid supplements can reduce the risk of a baby being born prematurely or with low birth weight and reduce the chance that the baby will be born prematurely.

    It is recommended that, before becoming pregnant, you take 400 micrograms (mcg) of folate or folic acid every day. You take between 600 and 1,000 micrograms (mcg) of folate or folic acid daily during pregnancy.

    A cereal fortified with folic acid is one of the best sources of this vital nutrient. You can find high folate concentrations in foods such as dark green, leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, dried beans, peas, and lentils, all of which contain a good amount of folate. To reiterate what I have already mentioned, I would like to remind you that all foods are good sources of folate, so it is essential to keep them in mind.

    A cup (20 to 60 g) of calcium-fortified ready-to-eat

     

    FoodSize of servingsCalcium content
    CerealA cup (20 to 60 g) of calcium-fortified ready-to-eat cereal is a good source of calcium100 to 1,000 mg
    JuiceA cup of calcium-fortified orange juice (237 mL)
     
    349 mg
    CheeseIt weighs approximately 1.5 ounces. (43 g) of part-skim mozzarella
     
    333 mg
     
    Milk1 cup (237 mL) of skim milk
     
    299 mg
    YogurtApproximately 6 ounces. It is a low-fat fruit yogurt with a low-calorie sweetener that contains 170 grams
     
    258 mg
    SalmonThe weight of the product is 3 ounces. (85 g) canned pink salmon with bones181 mg
    SpinachThe amount of spinach to be used is 1/2 cup (95 grams)
     
    123 mg

    This is the FoodData Central website. USDA, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov. The date of access is January 27, 2022.

    Taking a daily prenatal vitamin, preferably starting at least three months before conception, is another way to ensure that you get enough of this essential nutrient during pregnancy. 

    In addition to making healthy food choices, this should also be done. Anyone who has even the slightest possibility of being able to carry a pregnancy to term would do well to include folic acid in their diet.

    Calcium Helps To Strengthen Bones

    Calcium Helps To Strengthen Bones


    Both you and your baby need to consume sufficient calcium to maintain healthy bones and teeth. In addition, calcium is also beneficial for the circulatory, muscular, and nervous systems, all of which help to function correctly when taken in adequate amounts.

    What is required of you: 1,000 milligrams (mg) per day; pregnant adolescents need 1,300 milligrams per day

    The best way to absorb calcium is to eat foods like dairy products, which are also good sources of calcium. In addition to dairy products, broccoli and kale are good sources of calcium. These days, calcium is also added to a wide variety of fruit juices and breakfast cereals as a natural source of calcium.

    Food Serving size Calcium content
    CerealOne cup (20 to 60 grams) of calcium-fortified ready-to-eat cereal100 to 1,000 mg
    JuiceA cup of calcium-fortified orange juice (237 mL)349 mg
    Cheese One and a half ounces. (43 g) of part-skim mozzarella cheese333 mg
    Milk1 cup (237 mL) of skim milk299 mg
    Yogurt6 ounces. It is recommended that you consume 170 grams of low-fat fruit 258 mg
    SalmonIt weighs approximately 3 ounces. (85 g) of canned pink salmon with bones181 mg
    Spinach12 cup (95 g) of boiled spinach123 mg

    This is the FoodData Central website. USDA, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov. The date of access is January 27, 2022.

    Vitamin D is Well Known For The Fact That It is Beneficial For Strengthening Bones

    vitamin D is Well Known For the Fact

     

    Along with calcium, vitamin D plays a vital role in developing your child's bones and teeth during childhood.

    Daily, you must consume 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D to meet your needs.

    Good sources: Fish like salmon, rich in vitamin D, are among the best sources of vitamin D. Fortified milk, and orange juice are good sources of vitamin D.

    FoodServing size Vitamin D content
    FishThree ounces. (85 g) of cooked sockeye salmon570 IU
    MilkOne cup (237 mL) of skim milk that has been added with vitamin D115 IU
    JuiceEight ounces. An orange juice that is fortified with calcium and vitamin D (237 mL)100 IU
    Eggs A large hard-boiled egg (50 grams) should be used for this recipe 44 IU
     

    This is the FoodData Central website. USDA, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov. The date of access is January 27, 2022.

    Proteins, Which Encourage Growth

    Proteins, Which Encourage Growth


    As a pregnant woman, your baby's development needs to get enough protein while you are pregnant.

    The recommended daily allowance is 71 grams (g).

    It is essential to know that lean meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs are excellent protein sources and several other good sources of information. Other options, such as nuts, seeds, beans, and peas, as well as products made from soy, are also available.

    FoodServing sizeProtein content
    Cottage cheeseIn a large bowl, combine 1 cup (226 g) low-fat cottage cheese with 1% milk28 g
    PoultryThree ounces. (86 g) of boneless, skinless chicken breasts grilled on a grill
     
    26 g
    FishThree ounces. (85 g) of canned pink salmon with bones17 g
    LentilsHalf a cup (99 grams) of boiled lentils9 g
    Milk1 cup (237 mL) of skim milk8 g
    Peanut butter2 tablespoons (32 g) of peanut butter7 g
    Eggs There should be one large hard-boiled egg (50 grams) in the recipe 6 g

    This is the FoodData Central website. USDA, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov. The date of access is January 27, 2022.

    Iron: Avoid Developing Anemia Due to A Lack of Iron

    Iron: Avoid Developing Anemia Due to A Lack of Iron

     

    As a result of the presence of iron in the body, hemoglobin is produced in the body. Red blood cells contain a protein called hemoglobin, which is responsible for transporting oxygen throughout the body via the red blood cells. It is estimated that your body requires twice as much iron during pregnancy as it does at any other time in your life. For your body to produce extra blood and ensure that your unborn child has enough oxygen, it requires this iron to make additional blood.

    If you do not have sufficient iron stores or if you do not consume enough iron while you are pregnant, you are at risk of developing iron deficiency anemia. You may experience side effects from taking this medication, such as headaches as well as fatigue as a result of taking this medication. Women who have severe anemia during pregnancy due to a lack of iron are more likely to have a premature birth, a baby with low birth weight, and postpartum depression after giving birth.

    What is required of you: 27 milligrams per day

    A good source of iron is lean red meat, poultry, and fish, and all are considered good sources of iron. There are also cereals already enriched with iron, vegetables, and beans that can be eaten for breakfast.

    FoodServing sizeIron content
    Cereal Half a cup (40 grams) of quick oats fortified with iron20 mg
    MeatThree ounces. (85 g) of roasted lean beef tenderloin 3 mg
    SpinachHalf a cup (90 grams) of boiled spinach3 mg
    Beans Half a cup (88.5 g) of cooked kidney beansHalf a cup (88.5 g) of cooked kidney beans
     
    2 mg
    Poultry 3 ounces. (85 g) of roasted dark turkey1 mg

    iron deficiency

     

    This information is based on Release 28 of the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, a publicly available resource.
    Prenatal vitamins usually contain iron as part of their formulation. Your primary care physician may recommend taking an additional iron supplement if certain conditions are present.

    Undoubtedly, iron is most readily absorbed when consumed in the form of animal products such as meat. The following foods are high in vitamin C and go well with iron-containing plant foods or supplements, such as orange juice, tomato juice, or strawberries. As a result, the body will be able to absorb the iron more readily. Taking iron supplements simultaneously as drinking orange juice with calcium added to it is a recipe for disaster. During pregnancy, calcium is an essential nutrient, but it has been shown that calcium inhibits the body's ability to absorb iron, which is a negative effect of calcium during pregnancy.

    Ask Your Health Care Provider About Supplements

    Ask Your Health Care Provider About Supplements

     

    Even if you eat a well-balanced diet, there is still a possibility that you will be lacking in certain essential nutrients even if you eat a balanced diet. When you start taking a prenatal vitamin every day at least three months before you try to conceive, you can help fill in any nutritional gaps that may exist in the body during pregnancy. Suppose you follow a strict vegetarian diet or have a chronic health condition. In that case, your doctor or any other medical professional may recommend taking particular supplements if you follow a strict vegetarian diet.

    Suppose you are pregnant and are considering taking a herbal supplement. In that case, it is recommended that you consult your primary care physician about the possibility of taking a herbal supplement during pregnancy nutrition. Some herbal supplements may be harmful to the baby if taken while pregnant, as there is a possibility that they could harm the unborn child.