Find out all the essential nutrients you’ll need during the 40 weeks and where to get them.
WORDS CHRISTEL GERALYN GOMES
What exactly are the nutrients one should focus on during pregnancy? Bibi Chia, principal dietitian at Raffles Diabetes and Endocrine Centre lists the big five – iron, calcium, folate, fibre and protein. The amount you should get and what kind of food you should eat is listed below. If for some reason or other (such as lactose intolerance) it is impossible for you to get your nutrient intake from fresh foods, consider going on a supplement during your pregnancy.
19mg per day
Iron is needed to make extra blood (haemoglobin) for both you and your baby so to avoid iron deficiency during pregnancy, be sure you consume sufficient iron.
Sources: red meat, green leafy vegetables, iron-fortified cereals, lentils
1000mg per day
This is needed to help create baby’s bones and teeth. According to the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, if you do not get enough calcium, it will be taken from the stores in your bones and given to your baby. You do not want to suffer from brittle bones after your pregnancy so keeping up with the amount you need is absolutely essential.
Sources: milk, cheese, yoghurt, anchovies, tofu, fortified soy milk, fruits and vegetables
600mcg per day
It is difficult to get the right amount of folate from food alone, which is why it is important to start consuming folic acid supplements before and during your pregnancy. Check with your doctor on an adequate prescription.
Sources: milk, bean, lentils, spinach and other vegetables
20-30g per day
Constipation is a common pregnancy complaint that can lead to haemorrhoids. More fibre in your diet also helps you feel fuller for longer, keeping those scary pregnancy pounds off.
Sources: from whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
Extra 9g than your normal intake. For example, if your RDA is 58g, then, your protein requirement will be 67g per day during your pregnancy.
Sarah Krieger, a registered dietitian and spokeswoman on prenatal nutrition for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in Florida calls protein the “builder nutrient”. She explains that protein is what builds the important organs in babies, such as the brain and heart. This is the nutrient that is most easily available in a normal diet, so you shouldn't have many problems getting the right amount or more.
Sources: fish, meat, poultry, eggs, tofu, milk products, lentil, beans, nuts and seeds
Don't Forget Omega 3
Another important thing to think about is getting a good amount of Omega 3 into your pregnancy diet. According to Chia, Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid and it has different effects on baby and mum.
In babies, it is essential for the healthy development and function of the brain and eyes. In mums, it decreases the risk of preterm delivery, low birth weight babies, postpartum depression and pre-eclampsia.