You might find yourself wondering during pregnancy as you choke down those monster prenatals every night: Isn’t my balanced diet enough to cover my nutritional needs?
According to studies, not quite. Health experts agree that the number one way to ensure adequate intake of the most important nutrients (folic acid, iron and calcium) is to take a daily supplement containing the recommended dose of each. (See our article here all about these supplements and what they provide to your growing babe.)
Prenatal vitamins do not typically contain the essential fatty acids needed for baby’s brain, eye and nerve tissue development, however, so your doctor may recommend adding an omega-3 supplement to your daily regimen. The good news for pregnant mamas with a pill-aversion is that some prenatal vitamins have begun to include omega-3, like BrainStrong.BrainStrong prenatal vitamin is a complete over-the-counter prenatal multivitamin with 350 mg of the omega-3 fatty acid life’s DHA, a natural nutrient vital to the development of a baby’s brain and eyes. Check with your physician to see what supplements are right for you.
While prenatal vitamins can provide your daily dose of nutritional building blocks, a balanced diet is still key to gestational health and wellness. Here are some of the foods you can eat to enhance your intake of vital vitamins and minerals:
For folate: leafy green vegetables, beans, nuts and citrus fruits
For iron: greens, raisins, beans, seafood, egg yolks, lean red meats and iron-fortified whole grains
For calcium: yogurt, milk, cheese, salmon and tofu
Try to include these foods in your diet for a well-balanced intake of healthy vitamins and minerals.
Oh, and psst—plan to breastfeed? Don’t pack away those prenatals yet: Taking them while nursing ensures your diet—and therefore your breastmilk—is enriched with the vitamins and minerals you and your baby need for optimum health.