Nutrition during pregnancy
Essential vitamins and minerals during pregnancy
During pregnancy, it is essential to take in sufficient vitamins and minerals for your health and your baby’s development.
Vitamin B9, also called folic acid, ensures that your baby’s nervous system develops properly.
A deficiency in folic acid when the baby is in the embryonic phase can cause neurological defects.
For this reason, folic acid supplements are often recommended before conception and for at least the first three months of pregnancy.
Iron is mainly found in red blood cells where it helps carry oxygen to tissues. Your baby needs large amounts of iron, which is essential for building up his or her budding immune system.
Iron deficiency can lead to intense fatigue, trouble concentrating, irritability and a drop in immunity. Since your body’s iron requirements double during the first six months of pregnancy, you should take supplements as soon as you conceive. Iron is also indispensable in the weeks following the birth.
The body absorbs iron better if it is taken with vitamin C. Iron absorption is inhibited when you drink tea at the same time as you take the supplement.
Iodine is essential for your baby’s developing brain. Iodine deficiency during pregnancy can cause differing degrees of mental retardation in babies.
As iodine requirements increase during pregnancy, supplements are recommended.
Magnesium can help ensure your pregnancy is problem free and the foetus develops normally. Magnesium is also essential for preventing cramps.
Cramps (affecting the calves, thighs and feet) are frequent during the second trimester of pregnancy. They often occur during the night and can be very painful.
Cramps may also indicate circulatory problems or a deficiency in vitamins B1 and B6, potassium or copper.
For a problem-free pregnancy, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, eat a varied, balanced diet and take a dietary supplement containing vitamins and minerals before and after conception.
Dr. Gilles Brami