Of the many well-known benefits of vitamin D, researchers recently unveiled one health benefit which makes it mandatory to consume this nutrient during pregnancy. A new research suggests that vitamin D supplements are linked to a lower risk of fetal or infant mortality. The results of the study showed that women who consumed vitamin D during pregnancy had a 28% lower risk of giving birth to underweight kids who could die in the womb or during infancy. However, these benefits of vitamin D supplements were evident only when women consumed less than 2000 IU of vitamin D each day. This specific number was linked to a 55% lower risk of giving birth to an underweight baby or a 65% lower chance of the baby dying in the womb or during infancy. However, when women consumed more than the recommended quantity, their risk was not very different from other women who did not consume vitamin D supplements during pregnancy. Vitamin D during pregnancy contributes to fetal development, muscle and bone growth, healthy fat accumulation, neurodevelopment and the development of a healthy immune system.
Also read: Vitamin D: The Best Natural Sources Of Vitamin D
But that is not all; during pregnancy, a mother needs much more than just vitamin D. A woman needs many other nutrients during pregnancy which can contribute to her and the baby's overall health.
Here are 5 essential nutrients every woman must have during pregnancy.
During pregnancy, a woman's body produces 50% more blood than usual and the most important nutrient for healthy red blood cells is iron. Iron strengthens blood and helps in carrying oxygen to every part of the body. This carries the baby's food to the placenta. However, consuming iron supplements is not the way to go here. The body needs vitamin C for better absorption of iron. Therefore, pregnancy women must consume citrus fruits, tomatoes and other vitamin C rich foods to ensure better absorption of iron. Foods like kale, spinach, fish, poultry, eggs and red meat should also be eaten.
Protein requirement increases during the second and third trimester of pregnancy. This period is when another human is growing inside your body and it needs protein for its own growth as well. Since the human body cannot store protein, it needs to be ingested in the body on a regular basis. Besides this, protein also strengthens your placenta which prevents harmful substances from reaching your baby. Aim for 25 grams of protein during the second and third trimester.
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Also read: 5 Foods That Have More Proteins Than Eggs
Calcium is required for the maintenance and healthy growth of bones and teeth. It is also essential for muscle function and hormonal balance. Increased calcium intake during pregnancy becomes a must due to your body. This period is when it is not just you who needs calcium, the baby needs it too. The circulatory and nervous systems of the baby's body needs calcium. Women must consume two to three servings of milk, yogurt and cheese every day to meet the recommended intake. Other calcium-rich foods include salmon, almonds, green leafy vegetables and chickpeas.
4. B vitamins
B vitamins and folic acid are essential for building a healthy spinal cord and brain. These can be found in foods like avocados, green leafy vegetables and eggs.
5. Omega 3 fatty acids
Omega 3 fatty acids ensure proper growth in kids and adults. DHA is important for brain development in fetuses. 60% of the human brain is made up of omega 3 structural fats. Salmon, tuna and sardines are some of the best sources of omega 3s. Vegetarians can consume walnuts, flaxseeds and chia seeds.
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