Nutrition before and during pregnancy plays an important role in the health of moms as well as the development of fetuses and babies in the first years of life. This is a golden period for nutritional interventions to bring tremendous results to growth and development in a young life as well as protect the long-term health of the mom.
The role of nutrition for pregnancy health
Many types of research in the world have proved that the right dietary supplement during pregnancy and the first 2 years of life will help children have a good immune system and fulfill their physical and intellectual potential in the future.
Although only in very small amounts, micronutrients have a great role in the body. Proper nutrition will reduce the risk of death for children under 5 by 20%, children will have a higher intelligence index, better learning ability and higher income as adults. Lack of micronutrients increases the risk of a range of health problems for both the mom and the fetus.
During pregnancy, the need for micronutrients is higher than usual. According to professional documents, the demand for iron increases by 50% during pregnancy, the demand for iodine increases by 40%, the demand for vitamin B6 increases by 46%, the demand for zinc increases by 38%, the demand for folic acid increases by 50%.
Appropriate micronutrient supplementation (proper and sufficient) for pregnant moms
Food is always an important source of nutrients, but due to the increasing demand during pregnancy, some important micronutrients cannot be met only from food supplements. Especially some nutrients are low in common foods and easily lost during processing such as folic acid, DHA, EPA, iodine, etc.
Therefore, supplementing with micronutrients from supplements for women during pregnancy is necessary. And it should be noted that choosing the right supplement of the nutrients that the body needs in a dose that satisfies the body’s needs in each stage of pregnancy development:
Take iron/folic acid supplements
In the first 3 months, as well as the following months of pregnancy, besides vitamins and minerals, pregnant moms should focus on adding enough 2 important micronutrients, namely iron and folic acid.
According to the recommendations of the National Institute of Nutrition, moms need to ensure an adequate supply of 40mg iron/day – an increase of 15mg compared to the period before pregnancy, for folic acid the recommended requirement is 600mcg/day.
Calcium is found in many natural foods such as milk and dairy products (yogurt, cheese, etc.), shrimp, fish, eggs, meat. According to the recommendations of the National Institute of Nutrition, when pregnant, calcium requirement is 1200mg/day (before pregnancy demand is 800/day).
For moms with low calcium intake, supplementation with pregnant calcium by mouth should be done with an additional dose of 1.5-2g of elemental calcium per day to minimize symptoms such as aching joints, cramps, and especially pre-eclampsia risk.
Calcium should be supplemented from the second quarter (from the fourth month of pregnancy) until the time of breastfeeding.
Supplementing other essential vitamins and minerals
Micronutrient tablets should be supplemented regularly, paying attention to the types of micronutrients that are full of ingredients such as vitamin A, vitamin B group, vitamin D, vitamin C, folic acid; along with minerals like iron, zinc, Mg, Iodine, phosphorus, etc.
In addition, attention should be paid to the dosage of these multi-micronutrients. For example, with vitamin A, mothers need about 600mcg/day; vitamin C, zinc from 10 -20mg/day; vitamin D is about 20 mcg/day.
In addition to the above vitamins and minerals, pregnant moms should pay attention to getting enough DHA and EPA every day. Since this is an essential fatty acid for brain development, vision, and the immune system of babies.
The recommended DHA requirement is from 200mg DHA/day. DHA should be supplemented for pregnant moms in the form of natural triglycerides with a ratio of DHA / EPA ~ 4/1 to help the body absorb and give the best effect.
Currently, on the market there are many irons/folic acid as well as micronutrients for pregnant moms. Pregnant moms need to know how much they need to be able to choose the right product as supplementing nutrients excessively or insufficiently can cause negative effects on pregnancy health.