Vitamins and Nutrients Especially Needed During Pregnancy


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You should eat foods packed with nutrients during pregnancy, which is actually the basic principle of healthy eating when you are not pregnant. However, there are a few nutrients that are especially important during pregnancy. These include:

  • Folate and folic acid
  • Calcium
  • Protein
  • Iron

    A B vitamin that helps prevent neural tube defects, serious abnormalities of the brain and spinal cord is “folate. ” If your body lacks sufficient folate an increase for risk of preterm delivery may be an extra problem for you. Low birth weight and poor fetal growth has also been reported due to insufficient folate during pregnancy. Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate found in supplements and fortified foods.

    You need 1 milligram (1,000 micrograms) of folic acid per day before conception and during pregnancy.

    The following list contains good sources of folate:

  • Cereal (3/4 cup 100 percent fortified ready-to-eat cereal provides 400 micrograms of folate)
  • Meat (3 ounces of beef liver provides 185 micrograms of folate
  • Spinach (1/2 cup boiled spinach provides 100 micrograms of folate
  • Beans (1/2 cup boiled Great Northern beans provides 90 micrograms of folate
  • Asparagus (4 spears boiled asparagus provides 85 micrograms of folate
  • Oranges (1 small orange provides 30 micrograms of folate)

    Another important aspect of getting enough folate is taking prenatal vitamins. You probably should start taking daily prenatal vitamins at least three months before pregnancy.

    Calcium is always a must for women before, during and after pregnancy. You and your baby need calcium for strong bones and teeth as well as helping your circulatory, muscular and nervous systems run smoothly. During pregnancy your baby will rob you of all the calcium it needs. It is essential you take in enough calcium for you and the baby.

    You need 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day.

    Good sources of calcium include:

  • Dairy products are the richest in calcium
  • Fruit juices fortified with calcium
  • Breaskfast cereals fortified with calcium

    Yogurt, milk, cheese, juice, salmon, spinach, cereal should all be a matter of staples in your diet before, during and after pregnancy.

    How much you need: 1,000 milligrams a day.

    Good sources: Dairy products are the richest sources of calcium. Many fruit juices and breakfast cereals are fortified with calcium. Protein is especially crucial for your baby’s growth during the second and third trimesters. Protein also aids in repairing your cells and your body changes. You need 71 grams of protein per day.

    Good sources of protein include:

  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Milk
  • Peanut Butter
  • Eggs

    Iron is used to make hemoglobin, a protein in the red blood cells that carries oxygen to your tissues. Iron is also essential for women before, during and after pregnancy. Iron remains an essential for women throughout her life and even after menopause. During pregnancy your need for iron almost doubles.

    Without enough iron you may get fatigued and more susceptible to infections. The risk of preterm delivery and low birth weight may also be higher. You need 27 milligrams of iron per day, possibly more during pregnancy, according to your doctor’s instructions.

    Good sources of iron include:

  • Cereal
  • Beans
  • Spinach
  • Meat
  • Poultry

    Typically a prenatal vitamin will contain iron. However, in some cases, your health care provider may recommend a separate iron supplement.

    To help fill in the gaps of key nutrients, a daily prenatal vitamin staring ideally three months before conception is essential. Special supplements may also be recommended by your health care provider depending on your particular situation. If you consider taking herbal supplements, always be sure your health care provider gives you the OK to take them during pregnancy.

    Source: Mayo Clinic

    This article is FREE to publish with the resource box.

    Written by: Connie Limon. For an extensive list of FREE reprint articles all about pregnancy visit us at

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