The simple answer is yes. Vitamins and Minerals are involved in keeping you healthy and helping you grow the healthiest baby you can.
It can be really confusing knowing which ones to have, but here's a run down of the must have vitamins and minerals during your pregnancy, and how you can find them naturally. We should all aim to get the recommended quantities of vitamins and minerals through a balanced diet but that is not alway possible due to the quality of our food and our time poor lifestyles. This is where supplementation is key.
Food: chicken, eggs, red meat, beans, tofu, pumpkin & sunflower seeds.
Folate: Is a B vitamin, when it is added to food or as a supplement is known as Folic acid. It's vital in many metabolic processes of the body. Not having enough folate in pregnancy has been linked to an increased risk of neural tube defects such as spina bifida. RANZCOG recommends 0.4mg/day one month prior to pregnancy and for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Foods: kidney beans, cooked spinach, asparagus, broccoli, kale, tomato, avocado, walnuts, cabbage.
Iodine: A really important mineral that is essential for the development of your baby's brain (IQ) and nervous system. It's also very important in the role of your thyroid gland. Your thyroid gland takes Iodine and converts it into thyroid hormones. Your thyroid hormones determine your metabolic rate, the rate at which your body uses energy and it is vital for every cell in the body to function properly. RANZCOG recommend a dose of 150 micrograms/day.
Food: seaweed, strawberries, eggs, seafood.
Zinc: Is essential for normal growth and development of the bones, brain and other parts of the body. It is known as a trace element and a catalyst for a number of enzymes in cell division and cell growth. It's also great for boosting your immune system. Foods: red meat, dairy products, beans, seeds.
Calcium: The RANZCOG recommend 1000mg/day for pregnant women 19 years and older. This can reduce the incidence of you having high blood pressure and having your baby early.
Vitamin D: Not something you would think could be low in Australia, however recent research is showing there is a deficiency emerging. Vitamin D helps the body absorb Calcium, it's also vital in preventing osteoporosis for you later in life. Deficiency can also lead to an impaired skeletal development in your baby. You may get enough from the sunshine, however if you are unsure consult your doctor for a blood test.
Omega 3 fatty acids: This is essential for your baby's neural, brain and eye development. There is huge concerns and confusing information around the safe intake of fish during pregnancy. The RANZCOG recommend no more than 2-3 serves of fish/week (150g/serve). They are still researching the use of supplementation for Omega 3 Fatty Acids.
Vitamin B12: If you are vegetarian or vegan you will need to supplement your B12 as well. The RANZCOG recommended dose is 2.6mcg/day. Check with your doctor if you are unsure if you need a supplement.
Reference: Vitamin and mineral supplementation in pregnancy (C-obs 25) RANZCO
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