From A to Zinc
If you have ever attempted to go on any kind of diet that involved reading the information on the nutritional labels of your food you are all too familiar with the fact that those little words and symbols can start to look like Greek after a while.
If you‟re not a doctor or a nutritionist you probably have no idea of what Vitamin B or Folic Acid are, much less why they‟re important.
The first step to conquering pregnancy nutrition is understanding what you’re eating, how much you should eat, why you’re eating it and how it’s going to help your baby. A quick note.
In the following section you are going to see several mentions made about the negative consequences of overdosing on specific vitamins. You must understand that this overdose very rarely occurs because of the foods you eat.
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More often it is because mothers have chosen to consume extra supplements in an attempt to “help” their baby or they have forgotten to tell their physician about other vitamins and supplements they take on a regular basis.
Be sure when you go in for your prenatal appointments that your physician knows exactly what vitamins, medications and supplements (including herbal) you take, regardless of how insignificant you may believe them to be.
1. Vitamin A: Vitamin A helps the development of baby‟s bones and teeth, as well as their heart, ears, eyes and immune system (the body system that fights infection).
Vitamin A deficiency has been associated with vision problems, which is why your mom always told you to eat your carrots when you were a kid! Getting enough Vitamin A during pregnancy will also help your body repair the damage caused by childbirth.
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Pregnant women should consume at least 770 micrograms (or 2565 IU, as it is labeled on nutritional labels) of Vitamin A per day, and that number almost doubles when nursing to 1300 micrograms (4,330 IU).
Be aware, however, that overdosing on Vitamin A can cause birth defects and liver toxicity. Your maximum intake should be 3000 mcg (10,000 IU) per day. Vitamin A can be found in liver, carrots, sweet potatoes, kale spinach collard greens, cantaloupe, eggs, mangos and peas.
2. Vitamin B6: Also known as Pyridoxine, Vitamin B6 helps your baby‟s brain and nervous system develop. It also helps Mom and baby develop new red blood cells. Oddly enough, B6 has been known to help alleviate morning sickness in some pregnant women.
Pregnant women should consume at least 1.9 mg per day of Vitamin B6. That amount rises slightly when nursing to 2.0 mg per day. Vitamin B6 can be found in fortified cereals, as well as bananas, baked potatoes, watermelon, chick peas and chicken breast.
3. Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 works hand in hand with folic acid to help both Mom and baby produce healthy red blood cells, and it helps develop the fetal brain and nervous system. The body stores years‟ worth of B12 away, so unless you are a vegan or suffer from pernicious anemia the likelihood of a B12 deficiency is very slim.
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Pregnant women should consume at least 2.6 mcg (104 IU) of B12per day, nursing mothers 2.8 mcg (112 IU). Vitamin B12 can be found in red meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, eggs and dairy foods. If you are a vegan you will be able to find B12 fortified tofu and soymilk. Other foods are fortified at the manufacturer‟s discretion.
4. Vitamin C: Vitamin C helps the body to absorb iron and build a healthy immune system in both mother and baby. It also holds the cells together, helping the body to build tissue. Since the Daily Recommended Allowance of Vitamin C is so easy to consume by eating the right foods supplementation is rarely needed.
Pregnant women should consume at least 80-85 mg of Vitamin C per day, nursing mothers no less than 120 mg per day. Vitamin C can be found in citrus fruits, raspberries, bell peppers, green beans, strawberries, papaya, potatoes, broccoli and tomatoes, as well as in many cough drops and other supplements. ……….