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Top 5 Micronutrients for Pregnancy

Updated: Jan 18, 2023

While consuming a variety of nutrients during adulthood is important, learning about micronutrients becomes crucial during pregnancy. Not only are you supporting your changing body, but that of your newest little addition! You feel those little kicks? Is your milk starting to come in? Do you notice the shape of your belly changing? That’s adequate micronutrient nutrition at work, sister! Discovering more about vitamins and minerals is a great way to ensure nutritional adequacy and developmental support during pregnancy. So let’s get into it!

Five nutrients of prime importance during the prenatal period are folate, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, iodine, and iron.

Let’s start with folate (AKA folic acid). Have you ever heard of the “neural tube”? It’s what becomes baby’s brain and spinal cord! According to the CDC, neural tube defects affect between 1 in 100 to 1 in 500 mothers and children! That’s where folic acid comes in. It promotes the formation of red blood cells and ensures that the spinal cord closes properly. Your prenatal should contain folate, but it’s important to include dietary sources, as well. You can find dietary folate in broccoli, spinach, kale, nuts, beans, and citrus fruits.

When it comes to brain development, omega-3 is a huge player! A type of unsaturated fat, omega-3 has been linked to higher brain functioning and is essential in the development of fetal organs. Be sure to note whether your prenatal has omega-3 included- not all do! If not, you’ll want to speak with Ava about omega-3 supplementation in addition to dietary sources, like low-mercury, fully cooked fish, nuts, seeds, and avocados. Low-mercury fish include salmon, shrimp, tuna and tilapia.

At 11 weeks from conception, your baby’s bones are beginning to harden, especially in the skull and long bones. During this time, calcium becomes an essential nutrient, important to support mom and baby’s bones. Without adequate calcium intake, baby will snatch calcium from mom’s bones, putting her at risk of osteoporosis. The good news is that there are many dietary sources of calcium to add to your diet, such as milk, fortified milk substitutes like soy milk, fortified orange juice, winter squash, edamame, canned sardines, salmon with bones, or almonds.

Iodine is an important nutrient for thyroid function and energy production. An iodine deficiency can result in fetal brain damage. Luckily, it’s difficult to be deficient in this nutrient if you’re an American. And that’s because iodine is found in salt, the leading ingredient of the American diet.

Finally , maintaining a sufficient iron supply can decrease your risk of developing iron deficiency anemia, resulting in potential for preterm delivery and low birth weight. Remember, whatever iron baby receives comes from your dietary intake and prenatal, so stock up your grocery cart with meat, fish, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, fortified cereal and green leafy vegetables. Pair your iron-rich foods with vitamin C to increase absorption! The easiest way to ensure that you’re getting in these nutrients is to eat a variety of vegetables, grains and proteins and taking a quality prenatal vitamin! Reach out to Ava for prenatal vitamin recommendations that work for YOU!

Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE to my email list (I definitely won't spam you, but I will send you exclusive content, tips, and insights you won't find on Instagram) and APPLY to my Prenatal Nutrition Program (PNP)!

Nourish By Ava, LLC with Jovanna Russo


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