Proper Nutrition

Do you have decreased nutritional stores?  Ask these questions.

  1. Have you had a multiple birth or short intervals between children?
  2. Have you been dieting rigorously to lose weight before pregnancy?
  3. Have you used oral contraception?  (This may decrease folate stores)
  4. Have you used IUD’s or have heavy menstrual flows?  (May contribute to low iron counts.)

If so, please speak to your physician/caregiver about appropriate supplements or dietary changes.

Nutrition During Pregnancy ACOG

NOTE:  The following are general guidelines.  Please see your physician/caregiver or a registered dietician for specific help in determining your nutrition needs. Be wary of taking nutritional advice from anyone who wants to sell you supplements.

Important Nutrients
  • Iron (Fe)

Approximately 40% of all women and 56% of pregnant women are deficient in Iron stores. Increased blood volume and red blood cell mass during pregnancy leads to an increase in need for iron.

60 mg elemental Fe, 3 times a day for 3-6 months is needed to correct anemia and rebuild iron stores.

  • Calcium (Ca)

Supplements are important for women who cannot eat dairy products.  There is an association between Ca deficiency and preeclampsia in populations with low Ca  intake.  Supplements can reverse this problem

Ca carbonate provides the best absorption.  (i.e. Oscal® or Tums®)

Natural supplements, such as bone meal, oyster shell and dolomite, are not recommended because they may contain high concentrations of lead.

  • Folic Acid

Folic acid assists in rapid cell division and normal protein metabolism, as well as Red Blood Cell formation. Recommendations are that all women capable of becoming pregnant should consume 400mcg per day to decrease neural tube defects.

Sources include liver, dark green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, asparagus, beans, broccoli most grains, wheat germ and brewer’s yeast.

FDA mandate (effective 1/98) Grain products are to be fortified with folic acid.

NOTE:  mega doses (10 times the FDA recommendation) for some nutrients may prove harmful especially fat soluble vitamins A,D, E, and K

For more information from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, please hit the link below!