Take a prenatal multivitamin Our diets may be deficient in a number of vitamins and minerals especially when meeting the demand of a growing baby as well as our own nutritional needs. Thats why its important to take a prenatal multivitamin.
How to choose the right prenatal multivitamin Some professional lines of supplements, such as those recommended by naturopaths, have pharmaceutical grade nutrients in optimized ratios. You might also want to choose a supplement that provides different nutrients at different stages of pregnancy, to match the changing needs of mother and baby. There are now also whole-food based prenatal vitamins with pre-digested nutrients. Find which high quality multivitamin is best for you, and take it daily.
The importance of folic acid Folic acid is a key nutrient that is important for healthy development of your babys spine, brain, and skull, especially during the first four weeks of pregnancy. Taking at least 0.4mg (400mcg) of folic acid or folate daily can prevent neural tube defects such as Spina bifida. Because the defects can occur so early in pregnancy, it is important to start supplementation even before you get pregnant.
Essential fatty acids EFAs are an important part of brain, nervous system, and eye development. They are also required for the formation of tissues, as every cell in the body has a phospholipid membrane. Deficiencies of DHA, an Omega-3 fatty acid in the mothers diet during pregnancy have been correlated with low birth weight, low head circumference, and low placental weight. Many children with developmental disorders have been shown to have deficiencies in Omega-3 fatty acids. On the other hand, higher EFA consumption during pregnancy has been associated with greater problem solving abilities and mental development, enhanced vision, and enhanced dexterity, with the benefits extending well beyond infancy.
Probiotics Probiotics have been defined by the World Health Organization as live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit to the host. These good micro-organisms, naturally present in a healthy body, enhance the immune system, improve digestion and detoxification, manufacture vitamins, protect the mothers gastrointestinal (GI) tract, and crowd out harmful micro-organisms. Through these beneficial functions, probiotics may reduce the stresses on the mother, and hence also on the baby. Probiotics have also found to be beneficial with milk allergies, food allergies, and allergic rhinitis. They can provide health benefits for both mother and baby and the rest of the family, too.
With these tips, youll feel healthy before and after your pregnancy!
Heather Allsop, B.Sc., Ph.D., RNCP