Understanding this when you first find out you’re pregnant is really helpful because your body is switching into physical and hormonal change overdrive. With this change, you’ll suddenly require far more of certain nutrients, especially carbohydrates, folate, iron and iodine.
While it makes sense to pay attention to your diet in general, when your body has a new life budding within your womb – this becomes vital. Here’s more on four essential nutrients your pregnant (or-soon-to-be-pregnant) body most definitely needs:
Many dietary trends today give carbs a bad rap, but in pregnancy they need to remain firmly on the menu!
The reason they’re so essential is because they give the necessary fuel for your baby’s growth.
The quality of carbohydrates you consume, does however make all the difference. It’s important to understand that not all carbs are created equal.
Avoid filling your carbohydrate quota with sugar-filled snacks, refined bread, white rice, cakes, cookies and potatoes. These are broken down very quickly by the body, spiking your blood glucose and insulin levels. This is extremely unhelpful for your system.
Instead, seek out slow-burning carb sources which help keep blood sugar levels stable and reduce your risk of developing gestational diabetes. These include bananas, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, chickpeas and legumes, wholegrain breads, pastas and cereals.
Folic acid and folate are essential nutrients for the healthy growth and development of your baby and can prevent against up to 70% of neural tube (birth) defects such as spina bifida.
If planning a pregnancy, start taking folic acid supplements immediately. It’s also especially important to ensure your intake is sufficient during your first trimester of pregnancy.
Folate is a B-group vitamin found naturally in green leafy veggies, fruits, legumes, orange juice, cereals, grains and wholegrain breads.
During pregnancy your body needs to extend a supply of blood and oxygen to your baby, and as a result your blood supply increases – and your body’s demand for iron increases too. Pregnant women require twice the amount of iron (27mg per day) than the standard daily recommended allowance for women who aren’t pregnant.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women need adequate iodine because without it, infants in the womb, babies and young children are at risk of poor physical development, hearing problems and learning difficulties. Iodine is found in seafood, milk and vegetables – and in iodised salt.
Australia and New Zealand’s National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) recommends an iodine supplement of 150 micrograms (μg) a day for women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or considering pregnancy. Important: If you have a known thyroid condition, please seek advice from a doctor, midwife or dietician first.
Our One for Women experts, can definitely guide you in the best nutritional advice for you and your growing baby’s individual needs.