Important nutrients for pregnancy

Important nutrients for pregnancy
Nutrient rich foods

Eating the right food is very important during pregnancy. Opinions about what foods are safe vary from individual to individual. Your friends might tell you that shrimps are unsafe during pregnancy but research clearly suggests otherwise. While certain foods and eating routines can affect the baby’s development adversely. It is more important to know the important nutrients for pregnancy that will keep you and your baby healthy. Below, is a list of four important nutrients that should are an important part of a healthy prenatal diet.

Vitamin B9 or Folate

Before conception and during the first six weeks of pregnancy, no nutrient is more vital than folate. In the absence of this B vitamin, the risk of neural-tube defects, such as spina bifida is very high. Experts recommend that you take at least 600 mcg of folic acid a day once you are pregnant. If you are carrying twins your doctor may suggest up to 1000 mcg a day. Good natural sources of Folate include lentils, dried beans, peas, avocado, dark green vegetables and citrus fruits. However, Folate from foods is not absorbed as well as folic acid, the synthetic form of Folate. So doctors recommend a prenatal vitamin or folic acid supplement to complement the diet.


When your baby’s bones & tooth development are at its peak, it is advisable to take 1,200 milligrams of calcium as your daily dose. You should have low-fat dairy products, dark green vegetables, fresh orange juice and soy products to fulfill your daily requirement of calcium during your second and third trimesters. If you do not take sufficient calcium, your baby may draw it from your bones and this will hamper your health.


During pregnancy the volume of blood in your body increases by up to 50 percent. You require extra iron to make the necessary haemoglobin required to support this increase. You also need extra iron for your growing baby and placenta. Your average requirement of iron during pregnancy is about 27 mg per day. Iron deficiency can cause preterm labour, low birth weight and infant mortality. It is difficult for the body to absorb iron from food. To boost iron absorption you should combine iron-rich foods with vitamin C sources. It is also advisable to consume iron supplement or prenatal vitamin with iron.


Your body’s requirement for zinc increases by 50% to 15 milligrams per day during pregnancy. Zinc deficiencies may result in birth defects, constrained foetal growth and premature delivery. Meat, seafood and fortified cereals are good sources of Zinc. You can also get it from whole grains, poultry, beans, nuts and dairy products.