Pregnancy Nutrition Before You Conceive, Part 2

Before you start thinking about pregnancy, there are a few key diet changes that need to be considered. To learn more information on the subject, I sat down with Dietitian, Bobbi Kumley. Bobbi is currently obtaining a Master of Science in Dietetics at the Ball State University.

When a woman is pregnant or trying to conceive, she needs to keep the following information in mind in regards to her diet.

Folic Acid: It is essential nutrient in order to prevent neural tube defects. This is especially important from the start. Bobbi suggests that women who are trying to conceive start taking a prenatal vitamin before hand to fill up your nutrient stores and ensure you do not have any deficiencies.  A pregnant woman needs 600 micograms of folate or folic acid each day.

Foods rich in folic acid: Legumes, green leafy vegetables, and citrus fruits are good sources. Cereal, juices, and breads are also wonderful sources because they are  fortified with folic acid enriched flour.

Iron: When you’re pregnant, the amount of blood you have increases. Thus, you need additional iron to ensure you have adequate hemoglobin and red cell production. The developing baby also needs to create it’s own iron stores. If a mom does not have enough iron, she could develop anemia, which can lead to premature delivery or low birth weight. You need 27 milligrams of iron per day.

Foods rich in iron: Lean meat, poultry, and iron fortified cereals are good sources. Foods that inhibit iron absorption should be consumed separately from iron-fortified foods. This includes such as whole-grain cereals, unleavened whole-grain breads, legumes, tea, and coffee.

How are prenatal vitamins different from regular vitamins? Why is a supplement recommended?

Prenatal vitamins differ from a regular multi-vitamin in a few key ways. Prenatal vitamins contain more iron, calcium, and folic acid, which is essential for proper fetal growth and development. It is an easy way for a woman who is trying to conceive to ensure she is getting enough of the extra nutrients her body requires in addition to a healthy, varied diet. This means you should try to include all of the food groups into each meal and eat a variety of foods.

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4 thoughts on “Pregnancy Nutrition Before You Conceive, Part 2

  1. becca says:

    Do the same rules apply if I were to try and eat all of my vitamins through food instead of taking supplements?

    • From previous, nutrition classes I have taken I have heard a professor tell me that if your diet is varied than you don’t need a multi-vitamin. However, since pregnancy is a critical time to have a diet full of the vitamins you need, I am not sure what the typical doctor advice is!

  2. You should consult your doctor on the subject before taking any prenatal vitamin. A quick glance on the internet revealed differing opinions. Some people would say yes if you are not keeping an eye on what you are eating (especially at the beginning concerning folic acid intake). I have heard that it was recommended somewhere that a woman should take prenatal vitamins up to 3 months before she starts trying. Your doctor can prescribed you a prenatal vitamin or you can find them at the store.

    *One really great one: Just Once Prenatal One. It is 100% Natural: free of artificial colors, preservatives, additives and is vegan safe. Check what your doctor thinks of this.

    You do need to check the amount Vitamin A (fat soluble vitamin) that the prenatal vitamin offers because too much Vitamin A can lead to birth defects. Unfortunately, I could not find the right amount of Vitamin A a woman should have when she is pregnant.

  3. Becca says:

    Are you supposed to keep up these amounts of vitamins throughout your entire pregnancy?

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