Food And Supplements During Pregnancy
The quality of your diet will have an impact on your health and that of the fetus. If you are already careful about what you eat, you will only have to consider some other things, such as taking a folic acid, iron and omega-3 supplement. On the other hand, if you have not always had an optimal diet, all that will have to change from the first weeks of your pregnancy.
Canada Food Guide: The Reference
Healthy nutrition will help you live a healthy pregnancy and allow the fetus to develop well. The Food Guide is undoubtedly the reference. It is essential to have a varied diet that includes fruits and vegetables, protein foods and whole grains.
Although the Food Guide underwent significant changes in January 2019, World Health Pedia mentions that pregnant women can trust it, but that they can also consult the previous Guide. This lets you know how many servings you should consume each day. Also remember that, contrary to what is often heard, pregnant women should not eat for two. Depending on the time of pregnancy, you simply need to take 2 or 3 additional servings.
Weight gain is also an important factor for pregnant women. It is essential to eat well, while maintaining a healthy weight to avoid certain pregnancy problems such as diabetes and hypertension.
Supplements: Folic Acid, Iron And Omega-3
World Health Pedia recommends that pregnant women or those who wish to become pregnant take a folic acid and iron supplement daily. Omega-3s are also very important for fetal development. Fish are a great source. However, if you prefer, you can also use the supplements.
Folic acid: its role
Folic acid is a vitamin B also known as “folate” and “folate.” It helps support the multiplication of fetal cells and certain nucleic acids such as DNA. In addition, folic acid plays a role in the development of the spine, brain and skull of the fetus. Therefore, it helps reduce the risk of neural tube defects (such as spina bifida).
In general, the folic acid requirement is 0.4 milligrams per day, one month before conception and during pregnancy. Multivitamins for pregnant women contain it in a version that would be absorbed almost 2 times better than dietary folic acid. You can still get a good amount of folic acid through food. They are found in spinach and asparagus, oranges and avocados, lentils and chickpeas and sunflower seeds.
Iron: its role
At every stage of life, iron is an essential nutrient. It is an essential component of proteins, including certain enzymes and hemoglobin. In fact, 2/3 of iron is found in the hemoglobin of red blood cells. It carries oxygen through the many tissues of the body. During pregnancy, the pregnant woman has a greater need for iron given the increase in the mass of her red blood cells. Iron also plays a crucial role for the growth of the fetus and placenta and participates in the proper development of the brain of the unborn baby. During the third trimester, the fetus prepares its iron stores. Store everything you will need during the first 6 months of your life.
Pregnant women or those who wish to become pregnant should consume between 16 and 20 mg of iron per day. World Health Pedia recommends taking a supplement daily because it is difficult to meet this need with food alone. It is also possible to take a multivitamin that combines the needs of iron and folic acid.
You can increase your iron intake by eating meat, chicken and fish. You will also find it in eggs, fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, among others those of pumpkin.
Omega-3: its role
Omega-3s are essential during pregnancy due to their content of polyunsaturated eicosapentaenoic fatty acids (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These “good fats” participate in the growth and development of the fetus, particularly in the brain. Therefore, the needs are greater during pregnancy.
To get a good dose of omega-3, pregnant women should eat at least 150 grams (5 ounces) of cooked fish each week, which is equivalent to approximately 2 fish meals per week. Fish may contain mercury (methylmercury, in fact), but the concentration is generally lower than the maximum limit set by World Health Pedia. It would be better to avoid certain predatory fish such as fresh tuna (canned tuna), swordfish and shark, as these species contain higher concentrations of mercury. If you don’t eat fish regularly, you can take an omega-3 supplement.
Foods To Avoid
In general, if you eat a variety of fresh foods, your pregnancy should go smoothly and your baby will develop normally. However, there are some foods to consider and avoid.
- Coffee, tea and herbal teas should be consumed in moderation. Also, not all herbal teas are recommended during pregnancy. Consult World Health Pedia to find out which ones to avoid.
- Alcohol and tobacco should be banned.
- Raw meats, eggs, fish and shellfish should be avoided, since they can transmit listeriosis. Choose cooked food.
- Unpasteurized cheeses, pate and cretons are not recommended for the same reason.
- Fruits and vegetables should always be washed well.
- Predatory fish such as shark, swordfish and fresh tuna should also be observed. They can contain enough mercury to be harmful.
By having a varied diet and taking a supplement of folic acid and iron, you are putting all the possibilities on your side so that your pregnancy goes as well as possible and that your little wonder develops normally. Eat well, drink water and listen to your hunger! Happy pregnancy!