With three high-risk pregnancies under my belt, I feel like I’m an expert in what NOT to do to have a healthy pregnancy. I’m lucky that in spite of my bad choices with food, my kids are very healthy. While each pregnancy was very different, my approach to healthy eating was very different.
With my first, I was very vigilant – almost to the extreme – about what I put into my body. I refused to eat fish because I was scared of mercury poisoning. I didn’t eat nuts because I was convinced he’d have a nut allergy. I stayed away from cheese because I was worried about listeria! While there is a potential danger with all of these things, the fact is that all are essential for a healthy pregnancy.
Let’s talk about seafood, for instance. Seafood is full of Omega-3 fatty acids, an essential brain builder for your baby. In fact, 97% of the Omega-3 fatty acid in the brain is DHA! DHA promotes brain development in infants, and may help lower the risk of preterm birth, allergies, and asthma. Eating fatty fish twice a week can make a huge difference in the health of your child, not to mention your own health. DHA supports optimal infant brain, eye and nervous system development and is particularly important in the third trimester when significant brain growth occurs. Developing infants cannot efficiently produce their own DHA and must obtain this vital nutrient through the placenta during pregnancy and from breast milk or infant formula after birth.
Experts recommend that pregnant women should get at least 300 mg/day of DHA omega-3 fatty acids. Only 27% of women during pregnancy and 25% of women three-months postpartum were meeting the common DHA recommendations. That means 3/4 of women are not getting what they need for themselves and their babies.
Nuts are a big deal, too. They are a great source of healthy fat and protein, and when eaten in small amounts, are great for a pregnant mom. And as long as you stay clear of soft cheeses like feta, brie or camembert, you can eat all the cheese you want. It’s a great source of calcium, which has a major impact on mom and baby! Calcium helps the baby’s bones grow, and helps the mother maintain strong bones. It promotes healthy blood pressure and is important for muscle and nerve development and function, and is great for all involved.
With each of my pregnancies, my knowledge about what to eat and which essential nutrients I needed grew. I wasn’t as paranoid in my second and third pregnancies as I was in my first. Part of that was experience, while most of it was that I better educated myself about what I could do to maximize the health of my babies and myself. Better multi-vitamins, better exercise habits and better food choices meant I could still occasionally indulge in some of my favorite foods without feeling guilty.
I learned that eating whole foods was better than eating convenient junk foods. I learned that getting my nutrients naturally from fruit, vegetables and lean proteins is much better than relying on pills. But I also learned that there are supplements that can help you to ensure you are getting all you need of the essential vitamins and nutrients that are so important to a healthy life, before, during and after pregnancy.
Vitamins in Motion is an initiative to raise awareness and advocate for increased access to the essential vitamins all people need to be healthy and well-nourished. Vitamins in Motion aims to highlight the vital role vitamins play in nutrition and health, and calls for finding and implementing scalable, cost-effective solutions to address the world’s vitamin deficiencies.
If you’re looking for a product that will help you get the DHA omega-3 you need, consider Enfamil Expecta Prenatal Dietary Supplement. Enfamil Expecta Prenatal Dietary Supplement is for pregnant and nursing women. It helps supply DHA and other important nutrients your diet may lack.
While pregnant and nursing, please consult your doctor before consuming any new ingredients or products.
This post includes my own personal opinions, and should not be taken as medical advice.