Pregnancy Vitamins and Minerals6 min readReading Time: 4 minutes
The important pregnancy vitamins and minerals
Not only is extra energy needed in your pregnancy diet, but also (and mainly) specific pregnancy vitamins and minerals. If you cover the increased energy demand with extra food, the extra nutrition usually comes by itself. But some nutrients it can be good to have a little extra control over.
Here are some tips on how to get the most important of these vitamins and minerals in the best way:
You need to get enough vitamin D as it is needed for the skeleton and teeth, as well as many of the body’s tissues and functions. It is also important for the body’s immune system.
Vitamin D is found mainly in oily fish, such as salmon, herring, mackerel and sardines. The vitamin is also found in eggs and fortified food fats and fortified dairy products, as well as in fortified oat and soy drinks. It says on the packaging whether a food is vitamin D enriched. Chanterelles and Karl Johan mushrooms also contain vitamin D.
In addition to food, sunlight is an important source of vitamin D. Vitamin D is formed in the body when the sun’s ultraviolet rays glow on the skin. Some pregnant women need vitamin D supplementation. This is especially true if you have dark skin or wear full-length clothing outdoors during the summer months. Talk to your midwife or contact a healthcare provider for sampling if you are unsure.
Folic acid – one of the famous pregnancy vitamins
Folic acid is a vitamin B, needed for cell division in the body and therefore it is extra important before and during pregnancy. The vitamin is called folate when it is found naturally in the food.
You should get 500 micrograms of folic acid per day through the food. Women who are planning to become pregnant are advised to take 400 micrograms of folic acid supplements a day to reduce the risk of spinal cord hernia. The National Food Agency recommends continued folic acid supplementation until week 12. Then you need to cover the need through the diet.
Folic acid is found in green leafy vegetables, fruits, berries, liver pies and whole grain products, as well as in lentils, peas, cabbage, chickpeas and beans. You will get enough folic acid if you follow the general dietary recommendations. They say that you should choose whole grain products and eat 500 grams of vegetables and fruits a day. It corresponds to five servings of fruit and vegetables, such as a banana, an apple, carrot, spinach and broccoli.
Vitamin B 12
Vitamin B12 is needed, among other things, for the child’s nervous system to develop normally.
Like the previous pregnancy nutrients, you’ll find this vitamin in your daily food – if you eat a mixed diet with elements of meat, fish, eggs or dairy products. Eating a mixed diet often result in getting enough of vitamin B12.
If you are vegan and avoid all foods from the animal kingdom, you need to take extra B12 supplements, and choose B12-enriched foods.
Iron is extra important during pregnancy and is especially needed for the oxygen uptake in the body. At some point in pregnancy, most pregnant women need extra iron supplements. The blood value is monitored at the midwife’s reception and the midwife will make sure you receive iron supplements if needed.
Iron is found mainly in meat, black pudding and liver pies. It is also found in fish, eggs, whole grain products, seeds, nuts and almonds, as well as green vegetables and legumes, ie lentils, peas and beans.
In meat and fish there is something called the “meat factor” which makes the iron easier to absorb in the food. Eating a vitamin C-rich meal, such as vegetables or fruits, also makes it easier for the body to absorb iron from vegetable foods. Other acids such as vinegar and sourdough bread have the same positive effect.
Coffee and tea reduce iron absorption, so after a meal it may be good to wait a while before drinking coffee. Or supplement the meal with some vitamin C rich.
“If you eat a varied diet you’ll get all pregnancy vitamins and minerals needed”
Calcium is important especially for bones and teeth.
You cover the increased need of during pregnancy by eating, for example, a bowl of yogurt or calcium-fortified oat or soy drinks every day, as well as cottage cheese and a few slices of cheese, or the corresponding calcium-fortified vegan alternatives.
Calcium is also found in spinach, cabbage, legumes, fish, shrimp, mussels, sesame and sunflower seeds.
For the body to absorb calcium, you need vitamin D, from the sun or food
Iodine is important for the thyroid gland and is needed for the development of the child’s nervous system.
Salt, seafood and sea algae are good sources of iodine. Since iodine may be deficient in the food, you should use iodine enriched salt. You can read on the packaging if the salt is enriched with iodine.
It is important not to exceed the recommended upper daily intake of iodine, but this can only happen if you eat large amounts of certain sea algae. Read on the package if you eat algae. The National Food Agency advises pregnant and breastfeeding to be careful about seafood products during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Do not exceed the recommended maximum daily dose of 250 micrograms from dietary supplements.
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