Hey GIT Girls! Fitness Friday: 4 Nutrients for Before, During & After Pregnancy is here!
So, you’re thinking about having your own little one? That’s great!
Fitness Friday: 4 Nutrients for Before, During & After Pregnancy
But there are a few things that you can do before conception, during your pregnancy, and postpartum to increase the odds of optimal health for you and your baby.
Eat better and take a prenatal vitamin and mineral supplement.
Make sure to check with your physician before you start a prenatal supplementation program
Here are four nutrients that will give you a solid shot at a healthy pregnancy:
Folate (Folic Acid)
While several expecting mothers start taking a vitamin and mineral formula during the time of pregnancy, many studies indicate that certain vitamins and minerals can prevent birth defects if taking prenatally (before becoming pregnant).
One such vitamin is the important man-made form of folate, a B vitamin.
Folate plays a key role in the formation of red bloods cells and helps in the neural tube development in the baby’s brain and spinal cord, which may prevent birth defects, such as spina bifida.
Spina bifida occurs when the bones of the spine don’t form properly around part of the baby’s spinal cord. It can be mild or severe.
Birth defects take place during the first three to four weeks of pregnancy. Therefore, it’s vital to have it in your system prior to conception. For instance, one study indicated that taking folic acid a year before expectancy can reduce your risk of delivering early by at least 50 percent, according to webmd.com.
The recommended dose is 400 mcg and foods high in folate are dark, green leafy vegetables, fruit juices, nuts, beans, peas, dairy products, poultry, meat and eggs.
Iron is a mineral your body will need to double during pregnancy, specifically during the second and third trimesters, when your body uses the mineral to make the extra red blood cells needed for your baby.
But your doctor might double the amount if you become anemic. I recommend using a chelated (more absorbable) form of iron, not ferrous sulfate, which will leave you constipated. 30 mg a day should suffice.
Speak to your doctor if you feel sluggish, however, as iron helps produce hemoglobin, which is the main functional component of red blood cell, serving as the oxygen-transport protein responsible for energy production.
Good food sources of iron include beef, turkey and beans, as well as one cup of cooked spinach, which yields 6 mg.
Calcium is paramount for building sturdy bones and teeth for your baby, as well as helping to maintain your own bone strength; your baby will take it from you if he or she isn’t getting enough through your diet.
Women less than 19 years old need 1,300 mg daily (as they’re still building their own bone mass), while women above 19 require 1,000 mg a day.
Low-fat yogurt, cheese and milk, as well as broccoli and kale are all good sources of calcium.
Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA)
DHA is one of the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oils. It helps construct your baby’s brain, nervous system and vision, while it may reduce your own risk of heart disease down the line.
Pregnancy RDA is 300 mg.
Good sources of DHA include:
- Canned light tuna, drained, 3 ounces — 190 mg.
- Fortified eggs — 85 mg to 200 mg.
- Blue crab, 3 ounces, cooked — 196 mg
Until next time, get healthy, wealthy and fit (if you’re not already)!