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VITAMIN SUPPLEMENTATION DURING PREGNANCY A well-balanced diet is Powered By Docstoc
					VITAMIN SUPPLEMENTATION DURING PREGNANCY A well-balanced diet is the best way to receive essential vitamins and minerals during pregnancy. Realistically, most women don’t include sufficient fruit, vegetable, grains, dairy products and meat in their diets and therefore need to take vitamin supplements. Those who will benefit from vitamin supplementation include women who: • have chronic conditions; • have dietary restrictions such as vegetarians; • are lactose-intolerant; • smoke; • are substance abusers; and/or • have multiple pregnancies. If you are pregnant (or trying to conceive) make sure to adhere to the recommendations of your healthcare providers regarding a prenatal vitamin supplement. Important nutrients Folic acid It is very important to take folic acid during early pregnancy. It is also beneficial to start taking it at least one month prior to attempting to conceive. It is essential for the neural tube (nervous system) development in the foetus and may prevent a condition of the spinal cord, called spina bifida. Foods rich in folic acid include oranges, green leafy vegetables, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, beetroot, strawberries, fortified cereals, beans and nuts. Iron Iron is also important as it aids in the production of haemoglobin which forms part of the blood cells. It prevents anaemia and assists to prevent low birth weight and premature delivery. If you are anaemic you should consult your doctor regarding additional iron supplements. Calcium Calcium promotes bone and tooth development of the baby. It also aids muscle and nerve function and prevents blood clots. Calcium and magnesium protects the mother’s bones and helps to prevent pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy). Calcium is found in dairy products, dark green leafy vegetables and canned fish with bones. Protein Protein helps in the production of amino acids which repair cells and can be found in meat, poultry, eggs, beans and nuts. Vitamins A, B, C, D and E • Vitamin A helps with the growing of bones and teeth and can be found in liver, milk, eggs, green and yellow vegetables such as broccoli, yellow fruit and potatoes.



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Vitamin B promotes healthy skin, good eyesight, helps with morning sickness and regulates the nervous system. It is found in red meat, rice, pasta, nuts, fish, poultry, cabbage, peas, soybeans, bananas and broccoli. Vitamin C helps to build the immune system, helps with the absorption of iron and protects tissues. It is found in green beans, tomatoes, strawberries, citrus fruits and bell peppers. Vitamin D promotes strong teeth and bones and aids the body in the use of calcium. It is found in milk, fish and sunshine (exposure to sunlight). Vitamin E helps to form the body and it is found in vegetable oil, nuts, spinach and fortified cereals.

Zinc Zinc helps with the production of insulin (a hormone that regulates sugar usage in the body) and substances that promote digestion. It is found in red meat, poultry, beans, oysters and dairy products. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids Omega-3 fatty acids such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) from fish oils are beneficial for both the expectant mom and the unborn baby, as it contributes to good nutrition. It helps with the baby’s brain development and eye health and can prevent premature delivery. Benefits to the mother may include prevention of prenatal and postnatal depression and the reassurance that she is giving her baby a healthy start in life. The omega-6 fatty acids contain linoleic acid and are mainly found in whole grains, vegetables, eggs and cereals. It maintains healthy skin, hair and nails and generally helps to bring about hormonal and emotional balance. It is up to you and your doctor to decide which prenatal vitamin supplements are appropriate for you. Some vitamins, if taken in high doses, may be harmful. The doctor may prescribe a pregnancy supplement or recommend an over-the-counter supplement. It is very important that you first consult your doctor before taking any supplements or herbal products, and not to take them at a higher dosage than recommended. Resources:

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