Keeping mom and baby healthy

2019-03-20 06:01

While maintaining a healthy diet is recommended at all stages of life, good nutrition is of particular importance while pregnant.

During pregnancy, a woman’s macronutrient (energy) and micronutrient (vitamins and mineral) requirements increase and adequate amounts of both are needed to maintain her and her developing baby’s health.

In fact, the availability of nutrients is the most basic need of child growth and development and a growing foetus is totally dependent on the nutrients received through the placenta.

The effects of poor pregnancy nutrition can never be reversed.

Current research is proving that what women eat while pregnant has a direct impact on their child’s future health. Even for those expectant mothers who eat a variety of food; which should include meat, dairy products, fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes; it is still difficult to get all the nutrients that they and their babies might need.

Most women can benefit from taking a prenatal vitamin and mineral supplement to make sure that they are getting enough of certain crucial nutrients during pregnancy. Prenatal vitamins generally contain more folic acid and iron than other standard adult multivitamins do.

Folic acid can help prevent neural tube defects which include serious abnormalities of the brain and spinal cord. Iron supports the baby’s growth and development and can help prevent iron deficiency in pregnant women — pregnancy doubles the body’s iron requirements and puts pregnant women at an increased risk of developing a deficiency.

Prenatal vitamins, such as PregOmega Plus, which is South Africa’s number one prenatal choice, contains additional omega 3, calcium, vitamin D and magnesium.

Research also indicates that taking prenatal vitamins can decrease the risk of having a baby that is small for his or her gestational age.

Good nutrition is most important immediately prior to conception and during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, which is why it is so important for women who are of childbearing age, particularly those trying to fall pregnant, to maintain good nutrition. And because folic acid is so important in the earliest weeks of a pregnancy, women should ideally start taking prenatal vitamins before conception, which is why many doctors recommend them for women who might become pregnant.

In fact, taking prenatal vitamins for at least three months before conception could also lessen morning sickness when a woman falls pregnant.

Many doctors may also recommend that women continue taking prenatal vitamins when breastfeeding, to make sure that they are getting enough vitamins and minerals.

Maintaining a healthy diet before and during pregnancy will help to protect both the pregnant mother and her developing baby from immediate and long-term health risks.

Go to for more information. — Supplied


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