Nutrients Needed For Healthy Pregnancy
During pregnancy, an expectant mother needs extra nutrition. Not only is she eating in order to nourish her unborn baby, but also to nourish herself and compensate for the flow of nutrition across the placenta to the fetus.
Ask Your Doctor’s Advice
When you find out you are pregnant (if not before), make sure you ask your doctor/dietitian for advice about your personal caloric and nutritional requirements. Meantime here is a brief guide to the extra nutrients you may require.
The food in your diet is the main source of energy for your baby. So you need to eat more while pregnant. You need about 300 calories more a day than you usually eat. Luckily, it’s very easy to obtain these extra 300 calories. All you need is a cup of yogurt (110 calories), one slice of wholegrain bread (70 calories) and a baked potato (120 calories).
In order to create the extra body tissue in both mother and baby, a pregnant woman needs an extra 2mg of vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol equivalent) per day. You can obtain this amount in 1 large egg.
In order to compensate for the loss of vitamin C across the placenta to the unborn baby, a pregnant woman needs an extra 10mg of vitamin C per day. You can obtain this from (eg) 1/2 cup of cooked zucchini.
Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
In order to protect the baby against birth defects like heart problems and cleft palate, a pregnant woman needs an extra 0.3mg of vitamin B2 per day. A convenient source of riboflavin is breakfast cereal.
In order to satisfy fetal demands for the healthy growth and development of the nervous system, metabolism and brain, an expectant mother needs an extra 0.2mcg of vitamin B12 each day. You can obtain this from (eg) 3oz of turkey or chicken.
According to the Recommended Dietary Allowances set by the US Food and Nutrition Board, pregnant women need the following extra minerals.
The normal Magnesium RDA (Women aged 18-50 years) is 310mg per day.
Pregnant women should take 340-350mg per day.
Good food sources: figs, lemons, grapefruit, corn, almonds, nuts, seeds, dark green vegetables, apples.
The normal Zinc RDA (Women aged 18-50 years) is 8mg per day.
Pregnant women should take 11-12mg per day
Good food sources: Lean steak, pork loin, wheat germ, pumpkin seeds, eggs.
The normal Selenium RDA (Women aged 18-50 years) is 55mcg per day.
Pregnant women should take 60mcg per day
Good food sources: Brazil nuts, wheat germ, tuna, tomatoes, broccoli.
The normal Molybdenum RDA (Women aged 18-50 years) is 45mcg per day.
Pregnant women should take 50mcg per day
Good food sources: dark green leafy vegetables, whole grains, beans.