Top Tips for Pregnancy Nutrition
Which vitamins and nutrients are key to your baby's health?
Good nutrition during pregnancy improves your chances of having a
healthy baby. It may even reduce the risk of certain chronic conditions in your
child, long after he has grown.
Eating for Two During Pregnancy
Whether you waited months for a positive pregnancy test or this pregnancy
took you by surprise, you'll probably need to make over your eating habits.
Many women begin pregnancy with shortfalls of nutrients central to a healthy
pregnancy, including iron, calcium, and brain-building fats.
"Never in a woman's life is nutrition so important as when she's
pregnant and nursing," says Elizabeth Somer, MA, RD, author of
Nutrition for a Healthy Pregnancy.
Indeed. Research suggests that, along with other healthy habits during
pregnancy, eating right influences a child's well-being at birth, and
"We've discovered that a child isn't only what she eats, but also what
you ate during pregnancy, and possibly what your mother ate," says Randy
Jirtle, PhD, a researcher in the field of epigenetics. Increasingly, research
shows that mom's lifestyle affects her baby's chances for conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
Focus on Folic Acid During Pregnancy
Getting adequate folic acid is one way of helping your child become the
healthiest person possible. During the first month of pregnancy, folic acid
reduces the risk of neural tube defects, including spina bifida.
Be sure to take a daily multivitamin with 400 micrograms folic acid until
you replace it with a prescription prenatal vitamin and mineral supplement.
Choose grains fortified with folic acid, including breakfast cereals, breads,
rice, and pasta, every day too.