The following is a sponsored post from MegaFood.
A clean, nutrient-dense diet before and during pregnancy is not only important for the health of mom, but the health of the baby as well. This is the best time to consider investing in organic and minimally processed foods and beverages whenever possible. But even with the best of intentions, pregnancy is a highly demanding time and supplementation is still recommended to ensure you’re covering all the bases. All vitamins and minerals are important and should be found in a good prenatal. For instance, vitamin B12 and zinc might be especially important if you are following a vegan diet. Vitamin D is important for all women, but particularly for those with darker skin and/or who live in northern parts of the country. In addition to these, there are some nutrients I think deserve a little extra discussion.
Folate - this powerful B-vitamin (and the active form of folic acid) is essential to have on board before (400 mcg per day at least 1-2 months) and throughout pregnancy (600 mcg per day). As part of a healthful diet, folate may reduce a woman's risk of having a child with a brain or spinal cord birth defect. Some women may not be able to fully convert folate/folic acid to their active form, so I recommend taking a prenatal that contains the biologically active L-methylfolate (L-5-MTHF) so you don’t have to worry about it!
Iron – is necessary for transporting oxygen throughout the body and as blood volume expands during pregnancy, so does the demand for iron, increasing from 18 mg to 27 mg per day. Not only do moms need to prevent low iron, but babies require iron to make their own blood.* The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) tells us that the average American diet provides 10–15 mg of iron per day from animal and plant sources, so look for a prenatal that provides 18-27 mg of iron per day to make up the difference.
Choline – is critical for many physiological processes during pregnancy and studies have shown it supports the baby’s neurodevelopment, growth, and more.* There is a growing body of evidence that mom’s choline intake may support cognition and resilience in children long-term.* The evidence was considered so overwhelming that the American Medical Association recommended that prenatal vitamins be required to provide meaningful levels of this important nutrient. This is so important considering the fact that the average daily choline intake from foods and beverages for women in the U.S. is only 278 mg. That’s way less than what you need while pregnant: 450 mg per day and that goes up to 550 mg per day while breastfeeding! Look for a prenatal that provides a minimum of 200-300 mg per day of choline to close the gap.
Iodine – is necessary for mom, but also studies have shown it may support the baby’s neurodevelopment during pregnancy.* Studies in the United States have also shown that many pregnant women are borderline insufficient, particularly those that restrict salt and do not consume dairy products. The American Thyroid Association recommends that women should take a supplement before and during pregnancy and while breastfeeding, that provides 150 mcg per day of iodine.
Calcium/Magnesium - are both very important during pregnancy, especially if your diet is low in either one. One thing to note: calcium can impair iron absorption, which is also very important during pregnancy, so it is best to take it separately from your prenatal, as well as four hours apart from most prescription medications.
DHA – stands for docosahexaenoic acid, an omega 3 fatty acid, that, together with choline, may play an important role in supporting the development of the brain and eyes of babies, particularly during the last trimester of pregnancy and in infancy.* You can get DHA in your diet by eating low mercury, omega-rich seafood, as well as DHA enriched eggs and dairy, however, supplementation is often necessary. Most global organizations recommend pregnant and breastfeeding women get a minimum of 200 mg DHA per day, available in fish oil or vegan sources made from algae.
So, mama, if this list seems daunting, getting everything you and your baby need doesn’t have to be complicated. Prioritizing a quality prenatal multivitamin, like Baby & Me 2, which I helped formulate with MegaFood, a brand that focuses on pairing key nutrients with real food, is a great start. Also plan for a calcium/magnesium formula, such as MegaFood Bone Health, taken separately from your prenatal, and a DHA product, and these should cover the bases for both mom and little one. So best wishes for a healthy pregnancy and congratulations on your little one—or ones!
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
TagsNutrition Nutrition During Pregnancy Healthy Birth Healthy Eating