There are many nutrients that you and your baby need to be healthy. Some nutrients, like folate (folic acid), iron, calcium and omega-3 fats are especially important during pregnancy.
Having enough folate during the first 3 months of pregnancy is critical to lower the baby’s risk for neural tube, brain or spinal cord damage. Your doctor will strongly recommend that you take a folic acid supplement over this time, but top up your intake further by focusing on beans, lentils, spinach and whole wheat products.
Try these ideas to boost your folate intake:
Your need for iron almost doubles during your pregnancy! That’s because iron is an essential component of blood, and your blood volume increases by about 50% over this time. To meet your iron requirements, your doctor will recommend a daily prenatal multivitamin which contains iron.
However, it is also important to get iron from foods:
Calcium is critical for developing your baby’s bones, but also helps to preserve your bone mass during pregnancy. Focus on having at least 3 servings of dairy foods per day, like milk or mass (250 ml), yoghurt (200 ml), or cheddar or gouda cheese (40 g). Eating foods which contain vitamin D, like fish, eggs and cod liver oil, also helps to increase your body’s absorption of calcium.
To meet your calcium needs throughout pregnancy:
Omega-3 fats, found in oily fish, are important for your baby’s brain and eye development. To meet your omega-3 fat needs throughout pregnancy:
For more guidelines on health and nutrition during pregnancy, please contact the Pick n Pay Health Hotline registered dietitian on 0800 11 22 88 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To find a registered dietitian in your area, visit the Association for Dietetics in South Africa (ADSA) website at www.adsa.org.za.