Nutrients during pregnancy – Vitamins for Women
Pregnancy is such a special time in a woman’s life as she watches the way her body changes and grows to accommodate her unborn baby.
Pregnancy fitness and health
How exciting – you’re pregnant! There’s never been a better time to look after yourself, so you can really sit back and enjoy your pregnancy while making plans to welcome your new baby.
Keeping physically fit and active during pregnancy offers many health benefits, such as improving physical and mental wellbeing while helping you to maintain a healthy weight. Just make sure you don’t overdo it.
During pregnancy your dietary requirements increase to support your health, and that of your developing baby. Eating a wide variety of unprocessed foods is a good place to start and taking a specialised pregnancy multivitamin provides a broad-spectrum of important nutrients. In theory, a healthy nutritious diet should provide you with all the nutrients you need while pregnant, but there are some vitamins and minerals that are especially important during pregnancy:
Folic acid & vitamin B12
Folic acid, if taken daily for one month before conception and during pregnancy, may reduce the risk of women having a child with birth defects such as spina bifida and anencephaly. Folic acid and vitamin B12 are important for DNA replication, cell division and growth, and are necessary to produce red blood cells and to maintain normal blood in healthy individuals.
Dietary iodine deficiency is re-emerging as a significant problem and recent research has identified Australian pregnant women to be at risk. Iodine requirements are increased during pregnancy and adequate maternal iodine levels are important for healthy brain development. To meet the increased demands of pregnancy, it is recommended that iodine supplementation be taken prior to trying to conceive and throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Choline plays a key role in foetal development and is required for the healthy development of the brain and nervous system during pregnancy.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Fish oil provides a rich source of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. Increasing omega-3 fatty acids during pregnancy may be beneficial to both mother and development of the baby. DHA in particular is important during pregnancy for healthy brain, eye and vision development.
Birth preparation with Raspberry leaf
Raspberry leaf has been traditionally used as a women’s tonic and is taken during the third trimester of pregnancy to prepare the uterus for labour and to facilitate childbirth.