What is the importance of Vitamins, supplements and nutrition in pregnancy?
Vitamins, supplements and nutrition in pregnancy are needed for the normal development of the baby and health of the mom. Pregnant women should eat a healthy and balanced diet. Adequate amount of vitamins and nutrients is needed for pregnant women since it can influence the fetus. There is a higher risk of birth defects for an underweight or overweight pregnant woman. Malnutrition of the mom will affect the fetus adversely.
A healthy diet is important throughout the life especially during pregnancy. During pregnancy, apart from a healthy diet, it is recommended to take supplements as prescribed by your midwife or doctor.
What are the supplements that should be included during pregnancy ?
Pregnant women may need supplements during pregnancy for the adequate need of the baby and mom. Some of the common supplements used during pregnancy include:
- Folic acid – Folic acid is important during early pregnancy. Fetus needs more folic acid than mom. Folic acid supplements are used to meet the adequate need. Folic acid supplement can prevent the neural tube defects, a birth defect. It is recommended to start folic acid even before you start planning a baby.
- Vitamin D – Vitamin D is needed for strong bones and teeth. So it is important during fetal development. Vitamin D can be obtained from foods like fatty fish, eggs etc. It can also be obtained from sunlight. Vegans or women who are allergic to dairy products may have the deficiency of Vitamin D. Also women who are not much exposed to sunlight, women with a darker skin tone etc. can also have the deficiency of Vitamin D. They may need Vitamin D supplements.
- Vitamin C – Helps to stay healthy. It is needed for the healthy development of fetus and health of the mom.
Iron – Iron is important for fetal development. Iron is an essential mineral needed for metabolic activities, neuro development etc. Iron is the main constituent of hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen. Deficiency of iron may cause lifelong defects in baby and will affect mom also. So, iron supplements may be needed for the health of mother and baby.
- Calcium – Calcium is necessary for bone and teeth. Calcium is contained in food products like milk, yogurt, cheese, leafy vegetables, bony fish etc. It is needed for pregnant women to have adequate amount of calcium.
Take appropriate food supplements as prescribed by your doctor or midwife. Excess intake can cause problems in pregnancy. So, women who take vitamins or mineral supplements during pregnancy should be cautious to avoid excess intake.