Nutritional Factors During Pregnancy

Proper nutrition in your pregnancy is very important. Not only for you, but for your baby as well. Proper nutrition should start even before you becomes pregnant.Nutrition.jpg
When you becomes pregnant, the doctor generally adds about 300 calories to your diet. This is to promote healthy development of your baby. You should also increase fiber intake to 25-30 additional grams along with plenty of water intake. This will help decrease the chances of constipation with your pregnancy. Some additional nutrients to include in your pregnancy are shown in this table:

Table 1. Key Nutrients for You and Your Baby During Pregnancy
Nutrient (Dietary Reference Intake [DRI]
Why You and Your Baby Need It
Best Sources
Calcium (1,000 milligrams)
Helps build strong bones and teeth.
Milk, cheese, yogurt, sardines
Iron (27 milligrams)
Helps red blood cells deliver oxygen to your baby.
Lean red meat, dried beans and peas, iron-fortified cereals, prune juice
Vitamin A (770 micrograms)
Forms healthy skin and helps eyesight. Helps with bone growth.
Carrots; dark, leafy greens; sweet potatoes
Vitamin C (85 milligrams)
Promotes healthy gums, teeth, and bones. Helps your body absorb iron.
Citrus fruit, broccoli, tomatoes, strawberries
Vitamin D (200 international units; some experts recommend 400 international units during pregnancy)
Helps build your baby’s bones and teeth.
Sunlight exposure; vitamin D fortified milk; fatty fish such as salmon
Vitamin B6 (1.9 milligrams)
Helps form red blood cells. Helps body use protein, fat, and carbohydrates.
Beef, liver, pork, ham; whole-grain cereals; bananas
Vitamin B12 (2.6 micrograms)
Maintains nervous system. Needed to form red blood cells.
Liver, meat, fish, poultry, milk (found only in animal foods—vegetarians who do not eat any animal foods should take a supplement)
Folate (600 micrograms)
Needed to produce blood and protein. Helps some enzymes function.
Green, leafy vegetables; liver; orange juice; legumes and nuts

One vitamin that is very important in your pregnancy is Folic acid. This helps reduce the risk of neural tube defects in your baby. This vitamin is actually needed before you even know you are pregnant. For this reason,if you are sexually active and in your childbearing years, you should take a multivitamin with 0.4mg of Folic Acid daily. Another important mineral is iron. Since the blood volume increases with pregnancy, you will need more iron to match the blood volume.

Some risky foods for a pregnancy include unpasteurized milk, juice, or cider; soft cheeses; raw or undercooked meats, shellfish, and poultry; and p
repared meats like hot dogs and deli meats. These foods are risky because they can cause Listeriosis. This illness is caused by bacteria found in these foods and can be fatal to the fetus. While you are pregnant, do not eat of these foods. Youshould always ensure that counter tops, cutting boards, and utensils properly when preparing undercooked meats. While pregnant, one should stay away from high mercury containing fish. These include swordfish, shark, and many others. These should be avoided because high levels of mercury could be dangerous to the fetus.