Another milestone in a woman’s existence would be the time when she becomes a mother. The journey is not easy, as certain changes might occur at such times. One must be ready physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually to embrace and accept the alteration they might encounter. They must be armed with knowledge and information not just for their own good, but for the tiny human being that will be conceived, developed and nurtured in their wombs for nine months.
The amazing thing about the female human body is its capacity to hold an approximately 2.5 to 3.5 kg of living being for almost nine months without breaking it, not unless the baby’s ready to be born. Another amazing fact the human body could do is the way the body works as a system to cater the needs and nourish the baby inside.
Before Getting Pregnant
The allowable age for female to conceive and to bear a child will be from the age of 18 to 35. During this period, the body will be mature enough and will be perfect for child bearing. It is advisable that women who are starting a family must take vitamins with an acceptable amount of folic acid each day, approximately 400 mg.
This is done as early as possible so the body will be supplied with the essential vitamins and the chance for the baby to develop any defects would be less. The intake of folic acid is highly promoted even before the woman gets pregnant. Pregnancy vitamins, unlike the common vitamin, are complete and suitable for women of conceiving age.
During The Journey
You may suspect that you are pregnant because of all the probable and positive signs occurring in your body. Upon reading the pregnancy test kit, you discovered two red parallel lines. The news brought joy and excitement to you and your husband. But then, the next thing you’ll be thinking are the ways on how to be fit and the things you should consider having a healthy pregnancy. This can be a dilemma for first time mothers, not unless they have someone who can share and guide them on how to have a healthy and wonderful pregnancy.
Since you are now eating not only for yourself to live, but also to sustain the life of your little one, you might want to consider some diet changes. Now is the perfect time to forget about indulging yourself on foods that won’t give you enough nutrients. Cutting some unwanted sugars and salts in your system and replacing them with ample amount of vitamins and minerals is a big yes at this stage.
Expectant moms are encouraged to eat more than the amount of their usual food intake, especially if they are carrying more than one baby. Birth defects, high-risk and unhealthy pregnancies can be the result if the consumption of right food is neglected.
By eating healthy, you could maintain the best weight and could avoid other complications that may harm you and your baby.
The First Trimester
The first three months or the so called first trimester of pregnancy is a very crucial stage. During this period, the mother is advised to take extra care to avoid her unborn child to be exposed to some harmful chemicals and radiations. Smoking and use of non-prescribed drugs can bring dangerous effect on the developing fetus, that’s why these must be avoided. It is also the stage where the mother must be meticulous enough to provide the needed nutrients of the developing embryo in her womb.
What makes this stage critical is the fact that during these three months, the baby’s body organs are developing and maturing. That is why healthy foods and an extra body care are highly recommended during this time. Pregnancy vitamins found in foods and supplements are also available to complete the healthy pregnancy regimen.
The best vitamins for pregnancy or prenatal vitamins don’t have to be expensive. While some may opt for some medicines or supplements, others may have their source of vitamins by eating right. They may have the same effect, which are beneficial for the growing human being inside a woman’s womb. However, best vitamins to take for pregnant women are those coming from a natural source like the fruits and vegetables. A considerable amount of meat and meat products are also needed.
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12 Best Vitamins When You Are About To Expect
The essential vitamins to take while pregnant were listed below for you to follow.
1. Folic Acid – Vitamin B9 Or Folate
Out of the best vitamins to take during pregnancy, this could be the most beneficial. As tackled above, this is advisable for women to take before she starts to conceive up to the three critical months of her pregnancy. Given with the dose of 400 mcg, this could prevent a serious damage to occur in the baby’s development.
Food Sources Of Folic Acid:
- Vegetables- the green one
- Legumes- beans and nuts
- Fruits- citrus
What Can Happen If You Lack Folic Acid?
- Neural Tube Defect: The defect occurs in the brain, spine and spinal columns of the baby. During the first three months or the first trimester, the neural tube of the developing baby will go through some changes. If an enough amount of folic acid will be delivered to the baby, this will aid the neural tube to develop properly. The neural tube will be the growing embryo’s brain, spine and spinal columns.
- Anencephaly: One of the rarest conditions of neural tube defect. Rare but most severe since the chance of survival is very little. The newborn will only live for hours due to an inadequate development of the neural tube on the top, resulting to absence of some of the brain’s tissue. Since the development was not fully achieved, the skull of the baby wasn’t developed also, exposing the part of the brain.
- Iniencephaly: Another severe but rare case of neural tube defect. The baby’s head is sternly bent backwards, to its distorted spine. The baby’s scalp is attached to its back while the facial skin is attached to the baby’s neck. There is an absence of the neck and the newborn is expectedly cannot survive from this condition.
- Encephalocele: There is an opening in the skull due to the absence of closure in the neural tube in the upper part near the brain. A sac will stick out containing part of the brain and membranes in the skull area. Changes in the motor activity, some delays in development of the physical body and a variation to normal intellectual capacity are just some of the effect of this neural tube defect. The baby will also experience an enlargement of the head or hydrocephalus and they will sometimes be prone to seizures.
- Spina bifida: An occurrence where the neural tube doesn’t fully developed and there is a presence of hole. Some of its condition may involve the motor activity of the affected part while some may only alter the physical appearance but isn’t severe.
- Meningocele: This happen when there is a hole in the spine and the skin at the back, then a sac sticks out. Usually, using a luminescence in a dark room can tell you whether the sac contains a membrane or not, if it contains only fluid, then this is considered as meningocele. This condition sometimes does not have any complication; however it is a must to prevent the sac from being dehydrated. It must be taken care to prevent it from breaking.
- Myelomeningocele: Most probably the most severe case of spina bifida. The spine at the back weren’t fully developed resulting to the protrusion of some membranes and spinal cord at the back. The sac contains some materials and fluid. The motor function might be affected as well as the intellectual development of the baby. Avoid the sac from bursting. You may position the baby in side lying or in prone.
- Cleft palate: A condition where the roof of the mouth wasn’t fully developed. This can be assessed during feeding time, when the baby shows difficulty in swallowing the milk. They often show difficulty of breathing during feeding time and they also manifested signs of choking. Clift lip, on the other hand, is the malformation of the upper lip.
2. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is one of the best prenatal vitamins to intake. It aids your body to absorb calcium. This will help in the maturity of your newborn’s teeth and bones. The level of calcium and phosphorous in the body may also depends on how high or low the vitamin D in the system.
Some body systems will also benefit from this vitamin. Autoimmune diseases like Type I Diabetes, Rheumatoid Arthritis and even Cancer can be prevented by this vitamin. We know that this is a synthesize product of our body once we expose ourselves to the light emitted from the sun but having too much exposure isn’t healthy. Any pregnant women were advised to take not less than 600 IU of vitamin D each day.
Food Sources Of Vitamin D
- Egg yolk
- Cereal products
- Fish- tuna, mackerel, salmon
- Drained canned fish and sardines
- A healthy spoon of butter
- Liver oil- fish
What Can Happen If You Lack Vitamin D?
- Bone deformity- rickets
- Delayed bone growth
- Low birth weight
- Mother will be prone to preeclampsia
- Development of abnormal teeth
A pregnant mother must have an adequate intake of calcium so that her own stored calcium in her body will not be utilized by the needed calcium of the developing embryo. If this would be the case, then the mother’s health will also be jeopardized.
The calcium needed by the baby will maintain its heart rhythm to normal. The clotting factor of the embryo will be improved thus preventing the occurrence of severe bleeding. The baby’s bone and teeth will fully develop. Women who are 18 and below must have a total of 1,300 mg of calcium per day while those above 18 years old should take an amount of 1000 mg. Don’t forget to drink lots of fluid to avoid calcium stone formation.
Food Sources Of Calcium
- Dairy products: Milk, yogurt, cheese
- Sardines- with edible bones
- Soy beans
What Can Happen If You Lack Calcium?
- May lead also to some bone deformities
- May cause hypertensive cases in pregnant women
Iron is an important part in the oxygen-carrying mechanism of the body. The iron is a mineral utilize for the production of more hemoglobin in the blood. We all know that hemoglobin carries the oxygen which is transported to the different parts of the body.
Since you are providing oxygen not just for your own body, but also for your baby, you have to maintain an increase in your iron consumption. Your pregnant body needs 27 mg of Iron a day to sustain the needed amount of the body and the baby. Two classification of iron can be found both on the animal meat and plant products like fruits, beans and vegetables.
Food Sources Of Iron
- Liver- best source
- Meat and poultry
- Leafy vegetable
- Intake of fruit juices high in vitamin C will increase the absorption of Iron in the body
What Can Happen If You Lack Iron?
- May cause an average or low birth weight
- Baby will born sooner than the expected (premature)
Intake of this mineral should be monitored. The average amount of Iodine needed by a pregnant woman is approximately 240 micrograms of Iodine. It is essential to the body as it is useful in the regulating hormones of the body. The hormones are responsible for our body responses and feelings.
The Iodine which is used to produce thyroid hormones helps in making the body temperature ideal, for physical growth of the body and for metabolic activities. Your baby needs this mineral for his brain and nervous system to grow. The coordination of the child’s movement and response will depend on how this system fully developed.
Food Sources Of Iodine
- Fish and other sea foods
- Poultry product
- Bread and cereals (fortified)
- Salt- iodize
What Can Happen If You Lack Iodine?
- Cretinism- a condition where the child’s physical growth is affected due to a decrease amount of Iodine (maternal Hypothyroidism)
- Baby’s neurological development will be impaired
- Other metabolic diseases
6. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)
Basically a nutrient needed for your baby’s eyesight and brain to be well develop. An ample amount of 200 milligrams of this nutrient a day is needed. This is also known a omega-3 fatty acid, a well known nutrient that is good for the heart.
Food Sources Of DHA
- Salmon, Herring and anchovies
- Poultry product
7. Vitamin C
Aside from boosting the immune system of the mother, this vitamin is needed for the development of collagen found in the blood vessel.
Food Sources Of Vitamin C
8. Vitamin A
It improves the concentration of hemoglobin in the blood with the help of iron. Strengthen the membranes that lines the respiratory tract and for good eyesight.
Food Sources Of Vitamin A
- Green and yellow fruits and vegetables
9. Vitamin B12
It aids in the formation of new red blood cells. This also preserves nerve cells.
Food Sources Of Vitamin B12
- Poultry product
It is very essential for the growth and development of cells.
Food Sources Of Zinc
- Grains and cereals
- Fish and other sea foods
What Can Happen If You Lack Zinc?
- Gastrochisis: A condition where the newborn’s abdomen is open. Associated with low protein or zinc in the diet.
Can be passed through the mother’s breast milk, this vitamin aids on the development of the baby’s brain. However, consuming this vitamin must be limited to its therapeutic level, thus a doctor’s prescription is advice. Women that use drugs that control blood cholesterol with niacin content cannot consume another dose of this vitamin during pregnancy.
Food Sources Of Niacin
- Poultry product
- Enriched cereals
What Can Happen If You Lack Niacin?
- Prone to congenital heart disease
12. Thiamine B1
It is helpful for the growth of brain and the other vital systems in the body. Muscle coordination and heart function are regulated wit this vitamin. The pregnant woman needs 1.4 mg of Thiamine a day.
Food Sources Of Thiamine B1
- Whole grains
What Can Happen If You Lack Thiamine?
- Beriberi- wet and dry
- Wet: can cause heart failure
- Dry: connected to muscles and could cause paralysis or decrease muscle strength
Vitamins for pregnancy are vital to complete the whole process of a healthy and delightful child-bearing. This should not be neglected as the future of your child will depend on your health. Seek and consult your physician for additional guidance and question.