It is essential for health to value the importance of nutrition throughout the cycle of life. This lifecycle begins during pregnancy, in the womb. The growing child obtains nutrition from the mother’s body. For this marvelous reason eating a diet rich in all essential vitamins and minerals is imperative to nourish a healthy child and reduce the risk of health complications.
Sourcing foods from all food groups will ensure the greatest exposure to a variety of nutrients. Eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, meat and dairy foods provide the necessary vitamins, mineral, protein, fatty acids and fiber to support the mother’s nutritional needs as well as those of the baby. Prenatal vitamins are a perfect compliment to the mother’s well-balanced diet as they are designed to provide the important nutrients a mother and growing fetus need.
Three nutrients especially important for fetal brain development:
- Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are required for fetal brain development. Omega-6 fatty acids are typically common in the diet and found in beef, chicken and eggs. Omega-3 fatty acids are equally important however typically less common. Potential food sources of omega-3 fatty acids include cold water-seafood, flaxseeds and walnuts. (1)(2)
- Folic Acid supports the growth of the placenta, development of new red blood cells and DNA synthesis. For this reason the RDA for folic acid increases during pregnancy.
- Iodine is necessary in neuronal myelination, for this reason the RDA for iodine is increased during pregnancy. Common in the diet of those who use iodized salt but for those who do not it can be found in seafood, milk, eggs and potatoes. (2)
For a happy and healthy pregnancy it is important to avoid potentially dangerous foods, manage stress, limit exposure to toxins, stay physically active, maintain a healthy weight and seek the guidance of healthcare providers. (3)(4)
- Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program. (n.d.). Retrieved May 30, 2017, from https://epi.grants.cancer.gov/diet/foodsources/fatty_acids/table1.html
- Mahan, L. K., & Raymond, J. L. (2017). Krauses food & the nutrition care process. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.
- Safety, F. (2010, January 28). Checklist of Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy. Retrieved May 30, 2017, from https://www.foodsafety.gov/risk/pregnant/chklist_pregnancy.html
- Women’s Health Care Physicians. (n.d.). Retrieved May 30, 2017, from http://www.acog.org/Resources-And-Publications/Committee-Opinions/Committee-on-Obstetric-Practice/Weight-Gain-During-Pregnancy
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This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. Do not use the information from this article for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your health care provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read in this article.