During pregnancy, meeting the different nutritional needs is of vital importance, highlighting nutrients such as iron, calcium or folic acid. Find out what they are and where we can find them.
Maintaining an adequate diet is always of vital importance at any time in life, but it is even more so during pregnancy. At this stage it is essential to take care of the different nutritional needs, providing the body with all those nutrients that are so necessary during the 9 months that pregnancy usually lasts.
During the 270 days that pregnancy tends to last, numerous changes occur in the woman’s body, which provide the possibility of allowing the future baby, its development and growth to be sheltered.
Although it all depends on the constitution that the future mother has, whether or not she carries out physical exercise and maintains a rather active and regular physical activity, if she maintains an ideal weight or not … there are a series of nutrients that are fundamental and essential during the gestation period.
And what are those essential nutrients? They are as follows:
During pregnancy there is a significant increase in protein needs by the future mother. This is due to the growth and development of the baby, since new maternal structures are formed that allow the normal development of the gestation.
In fact, they become the main element for the formation of the placenta and other body structures in the mother, such as the breasts and their changes to prepare for lactation, the uterus or a greater blood volume.
They are essential because they favor the production of blood, and they are also essential in the growth of cells.
How Much Protein Is Needed During Pregnancy? During pregnancy it is recommended to maintain a varied diet rich in protein. For example, for a 60 kg woman, she would need to consume around 70 g of protein each day. However, this amount should increase as the pregnancy progresses, especially when you gain weight.
Where to find them? We can find good quality proteins (also known as having high biological value) in dairy products, meat and fish. We must also mention vegetable proteins, such as those found in legumes, cereals and nuts.
Carbohydrates are essential because they benefit the daily energy production, so important during pregnancy. In fact, along with fats, they are the main source of energy for both the future mother and the baby.
For this reason, maintaining an inadequate diet with an insufficient amount of carbohydrates tends to cause fatigue, lack of energy and hunger pangs throughout pregnancy.
We must differentiate between simple and complex carbohydrates. While the former are absorbed quickly, the latter tend not to cause blood glucose spikes because they are digested slowly.
How Much Carbohydrates Are Needed During Pregnancy? During pregnancy there is no specific recommendation regarding the amount of carbohydrates to consume each day. However, it is vitally important to distribute them throughout the day, which will help prevent pecking, dizziness and fatigue. They are essential especially during the morning.
Where to find them? We find simple carbohydrates in foods like sugar, jams, honey, chocolate, fruits, and cakes. And we find complex carbohydrates in cereals, legumes and other foods such as pasta, rice and potatoes.
It is an essential mineral for muscle contractions, the function of nerves and, above all, for the development and growth of both the baby’s bones and their teeth. And it also has benefits for the expectant mother, since it helps reduce the risk of hypertension and pre-eclampsia during pregnancy.
How Much Calcium Is Needed During Pregnancy? According to the World Health Organization, it is advisable to consume around 1200 mg / day.
Where to find it? We find calcium mostly in milk and dairy products, which become the main sources of calcium. Additionally, you can also find calcium in plant foods such as chard, cabbage, broccoli, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, peanuts, dried figs, beans, chickpeas, and radishes.
We are facing another fundamental mineral during pregnancy, since it is essential for the production of red blood cells, specifically hemoglobin, and a protein that carries oxygen to other cells.
During pregnancy, in fact, the amount of blood increases, so that the pregnant mother needs a greater amount of iron so that, in turn, the body can be able to produce a greater amount of hemoglobin. It is essential to meet the needs of the developing baby.
How Much Iron Is Needed During Pregnancy? Most gynecologists advise daily iron supplementation during pregnancy, as a preventive way to ensure that the daily iron needs are met in pregnancy, and as prevention of anemia.
Where to find it? You find iron in lean red meat, spinach, legumes, tofu, raisins, plums, potatoes, broccoli, beets, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, apricots, figs, and whole wheat bread. In addition, it is best to try to consume these iron-rich foods with foods rich in vitamin C, since iron is better absorbed in the presence of this vitamin. You can opt, for example, for green and red peppers, strawberries, oranges and lemons.
Vitamin B9 Folic Acid
It is another of the most important essential nutrients during pregnancy. For example, as we saw in the article in which we were talking about the importance of folic acid before and during pregnancy, this vitamin is essential because it prevents birth defects in the brain (anencephaly) and in the spine (spine). Bifida), as a consequence of neural tube defects.
In addition, it positively helps the future mother to prevent eclampsia, which is a process that causes high blood pressure and the presence of albumin in the urine.
How Much Folic Acid Is Needed During Pregnancy? As with iron, a daily supplementation of folic acid is recommended not only during pregnancy, but also at least 3 months before (especially if the pregnancy is planned). However, a daily intake of 300 pg per day is recommended.
Where to find it? You can find it in legumes, green leafy vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fruits, eggs, and brewer’s yeast.
Other essential nutrients just as important
There are also other nutrients of equal importance during pregnancy, which are not less useful because they are included in the previous section. We will discover them below:
- Vitamin A: promotes the development of strong bones, healthy skin and adequate vision. We find it in green leafy vegetables and in red and orange vegetables.
- Vitamin C: as we mentioned, it is essential for a better absorption of both iron and calcium. Protects the baby from harmful substances. We find it in citrus fruits, natural fruit juices, red and green peppers, and in tomatoes.
- Vitamin D: promotes bone repair and growth. In addition, it helps in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus. You find it in fortified milk and beverages, dairy products and derivatives, bread and cereals.
- Phosphorus: fundamental mineral for the formation of healthy bones and teeth, together with calcium and vitamin D. We can find it in dairy products such as yogurt, eggs, fish such as sardines and red and lean meat.
- Iodine: favors the correct manufacture of hormones, essential for the proper development of pregnancy, as they are important for the development of the nervous system and growth. We can find it in eggs, fish and iodized salt.