Essential nutrients for pregnancy
Reduce the risk of complications
Pregnant women or those trying to conceive are often advised to supplement with folate to reduce the risk of neural tube defects. Have you ever considered how many other key nutrients reduce the risks of pregnancy complications?
It would be nice to think that we can get all the nutritional needs from food alone, but sadly this is often not the case.
Today, the reality is that foods are often lacking the nutritional content we need. Fruits and vegetables are often picked and stored for weeks before they reach your shopping basket. Some vital nutrients are lost due to depleted soils, mass farming and extended storage. Persistent nausea, often-coined ‘morning sickness’ and unusual food cravings can also affect a woman’s ability to consume a healthy, balanced diet. Your nutritional status before conception and during all stages of pregnancy is vital for a healthy mother and baby.
Poor nutritional status can increase the risk of adverse outcomes, such as miscarriage, delayed growth, neural tube defects, fatigue and pre-eclampsia. So what is the answer? Nothing can replace a good diet, but a good diet can be enhanced with the right nutritional supplementation through an experienced naturopath or nutritionist.
Laying down a good foundation with nutrition
Good nutrition during pregnancy is aimed at providing a healthy, full-term pregnancy, a healthy baby and difficulty-free breastfeeding. From conception to the end of the first trimester, the foetus increases 2.5 million times its mass. This rapid growth takes a lot of energy from the mother and explains why a nutrient-rich pregnancy for mother and baby ensures better outcomes. It’s hard to believe that studies have actually found that pregnant women do not consume adequate amounts of the right food to meet the nutrients requirements for iodine, calcium, iron, omega-3, vitamin D and E.
One particular study found Australian women are consistently low in iodine. The first half of pregnancy is an especially sensitive period. Iodine deficiency impacts neurological development, and deficiency has its most profound effects in the first trimester, which can result in devastating and irreversible neurological damage to the baby.
In pregnancy, a woman’s body functions at an optimal rate of growth and repair. Increased stress and demands are placed on her bodily systems. By optimising nutrition in pregnancy we increase the chances of a healthy birth and provide her with enough energy to enjoy the new baby and routine.
Next: Pregnancy supplements to boost your baby's brain power
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