When it comes to nutrition, it is important for women to know what to do to increase their chances of a healthy pregnancy. There are some excellent nutritional guides to follow. A pregnant woman needs only 300 extra calories to take in, as long as they are nutritious calories. I have outlined the basic nutritional needs for a healthy pregnancy.
During pregnancy, you need to have approximately 60 grams of protein daily, to help with your baby’s healthy growth. It is protein that keeps your breasts, uterus and placenta healthy. Protein produces the right amount of amniotic fluid and increases the blood volume.
1200 – 1500 mg per day of calcium is the intake recommended by the medical profession. Calcium is important in developing your baby’s bones, teeth, heart and muscles. Not taking enough calcium means that your baby will draw from your own reserves of calcium. This may increase the risk of you developing osteoporosis. Good sources of calcium come from milk and milk-based products. There are also lactose-free milk products on the market for those who are lactose intolerant.
Iron is an essential source of nutrition because it produces the hemoglobin necessary for you and your fetus. During the final stages of your pregnancy, your baby will draw on your body’s reserves of iron to avoid developing anemia early on after being born. It is important for you, too, though, because you will lose some blood when giving birth.
While your body may only need 27 mg of iron daily, you should take around 60 mg to ensure that you get the full 27 mg. The reason for this is that not all of the iron is absorbed. If you happen to be anemic, you should take an iron supplement. Foods enriched with vitamin C are good for iron absorption. Oranges, grapefruits, tomato juice, & cabbage all work well. It is best to avoid taking iron and calcium supplements and/or foods at the same time because calcium interferes with iron absorption.
It is recommended that you should increase your vitamin intake by 25-50 %. The needs of your folic acid will double to 400 mg per day during pregnancy, so it is important to eat a variety of fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, whole grains, lean meats etc., to give you those added vitamins.
Of course, your doctor and/or midwife will give you lots of help and instructions on your nutrition to give you the best chance of ahealthy pregnancy.
Remember, the best way to keep your baby healthy is to keep yourself healthy.