Fairfield County Edition

Nutritional Supplementation Benefits During Pregnancy

Most pregnant women can benefit from nutritional and multivitamin supplementation at least one year before conception, and throughout pregnancy and the post-partum period until they are finished breastfeeding. The effects of poor nutrition during pregnancy can be seen in the increase of birth defects during times of famine. Unfortunately, a standard Western diet and the depletion of soil in which crops are often grown affect us as well. A lack of necessary essential vitamins and minerals can lead to a potential compromise in the health of a mother and her children. A well-balanced, varied diet includes fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, beans and lean proteins. There is a limit on refined sugars, processed foods and saturated fats. Organically grown, GMO-free produce and meats are preferable; the avoidance of artificial colors and sweeteners, synthetic hormones and chemicals is critical.

In addition to a healthy diet, there is often a need for high-quality vitamin and mineral supplementation during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. Even prescription vitamins are often lacking in proper quantity and quality. It is recommended that women consult a physician knowledgeable in nutrition to make an informed purchase. Here is a list of some essentials a good supplement should have and the food sources in which they are most prevalent. Proper quantity and the ratios of vitamins and minerals need to be evaluated.

• Thiamine (vitamin B1): sunflower seeds, wheat germ, brown rice, oatmeal, legumes, peanuts, bell peppers and green peas

• Riboflavin (vitamin B2): brewer’s yeast, almonds, organ meats, whole grains, wheat germ, mushrooms, milk, yogurt, eggs, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, spinach and fortified flours/cereals

• Niacin (vitamin B3): wheat germ, crimini and shiitake mushrooms, brewer’s yeast, chicken, seafood (be careful of mercury), grass-fed beef, turkey, beets, asparagus, peanuts, green peas and garlic

• Pyridoxine (vitamin B6): fortified cereals, beans, poultry, fish, dark leafy greens, papayas, oranges, cantaloupe and egg yolks

• Folic acid (vitamin B9; best in the form of methyltetrahydrofolate): black eyed peas, lentils, green leafy vegetables, asparagus, avocado, nuts, liver, mango and oranges

• Cobalamin (vitamin B12): fish, meat, poultry, eggs, dairy products and fortified breakfast cereals

Vitamin A: sweet potatoes, carrots, dark leafy greens and butternut squash

Vitamin C: bell peppers, guava, dark leafy greens, kiwi, broccoli, strawberries, citrus fruits and tomatoes

Vitamin D: Sunshine, fatty fish, liver, cheese and egg yolks

Vitamin E: Nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, green leafy vegetables and wheat germ

• Vitamin K: Green leafy vegetables, such as kale, spinach and Swiss chard

Calcium (best in forms of calcium citrate/malate): dairy products, dark green leafy vegetables, pumpkin seeds and sardines

• Chromium: whole-grain products, high-bran cereals, green beans, broccoli, nuts and egg yolk

• Cobalt: milk, dairy, chocolate, fish and crustaceans

• Copper: nuts and seeds, avocados, potatoes, beans, peas and green leafy vegetables

• Iron: nuts, beans, vegetables, fortified grain products, molasses, brewer’s yeast, egg yolks and organ meats

• Magnesium: Green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, honey, dried fruits and potatoes

Potassium: bananas, bran, green leafy vegetables, olives and potatoes

• Zinc: oysters, red meat, chicken, beets, broccoli, fish, lentils and wheat germ

• Bioflavinoids: fruits and vegetables

Essential fatty acids: raw seeds, flax, chia, hemp, sunflower, walnuts, nuts, fish, shellfish and leafy vegetables

• Methione: fish and seafood

•Phosphatidycholine: meat and fish

• Taurine: shellfish, fish and dark poultry

Consulting with a physician who cares for pre-and post-natal mothers is highly recommended.

Risa Sloves, DC practices with her husband, Dr. Mark Joachim, at their Associates in Family Chiropractic and Natural Health Care office in Norwalk. Sloves is one of 10 chiropractic physicians in Connecticut who is board certified in maternity and pediatric care. Connect at 203-838-1555. See Community Resource Guide listing, page 76.

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