Healthy Pregnancy Nutrition & Supplements
by Monica Millage CSCS – Team Jeremy Scott Fitness
One of the most common questions I get now that I am pregnant is how my nutritional and supplemental needs have changed. It actually surprised me how similar they are to my pre-pregnancy routine. Of course there are things I’ve had to give up like my favorite pre-workouts due to their high caffeine content, but for the most part choosing a clean eating lifestyle is not much different from what is recommended for a healthy pregnancy diet.
Every woman’s diet whether they are pregnant or not should be made up of nutrient dense foods to assure the adequate intake of vitamins and minerals. A healthy pregnancy diet should consist of lots of high quality protein like eggs, free-range poultry, grass-fed beef and wild, caught, sustainable seafood (smaller fish is a must to avoid high mercury levels found in larger fish). A healthy diet will also consist of lots of green vegetables, they are high in many nutrients especially folic acid, which is essential to fetal growth and will be discussed more later on. Lastly healthy fats are a must, they are vital for baby’s brain development, organ and tissue growth. Coconut oil, olive oil, avocados and nuts are excellent sources of quality fats.
Even those with solid diets find it extremely difficult to determine whether or not they are getting enough nutrients so supplements are used. For those who are pregnant there are several supplements that are essential. Folic acid is a must for all women of childbearing age. It is recommended those women who are not pregnant take 400mcg daily while for pregnant woman doubling the amount to 800mcg daily is recommended. In pregnancy, folic acid greatly reduces the chances of certain birth defects related to neural tube defects such as spina bifida and anencephaly. Because this is essential to the fetus’ development early on in pregnancy even before some women realize they are pregnant it is extremely important for all women of child bearing age to have adequate levels of folic acid. Most multivitamins contain folic acid and they are also found in dark green vegetables such as spinach, greens and asparagus.
Another supplement that is beneficial to pregnant women is Omega 3 fatty acids. In particular, the omega-3 fatty acid DHA, which plays a crucial role in the development of the fetal nervous system, retina and brain development. 200mg of DHA is recommended daily for those expecting. There is research that shows that babies born to mothers who did not supplement with DHA scored lower in terms of fine motor skills and communication. There are also benefits to continuing DHA supplementation after birth. Women with lower levels of DHA have been shown to be more likely to suffer from postpartum depression.
A healthy pregnancy diet should be well balanced and contain nutritious foods that can provide the vitamins and minerals needed for the growth and development of the baby as well as the mother’s health. This diet is not that different from my pre-pregnancy diet that consisted mostly of high quality proteins, lots of green vegetables and healthy fats. With an easy switch from my usual multivitamin to a prenatal vitamin I am supplementing with the additional folic acid and DHA that is needed to reduce the risk of birth defects. Eating a healthy diet is one of the best things you can do for yourself and when you are expecting for your baby!
Monica Millage CSCS – Team Jeremy Scott Fitness
Scottsdale Personal Trainer – Scottsdale’s Top Fat Loss Team