Do You Know That Pregnancy Increases The Need For Nutrients
During pregnancy, macronutrient intake needs grow significantly. Macronutrients include carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
For example, protein intake needs to increase from the recommended 0.36 grams per pound (0.8 grams per kg) of body weight for non-pregnant women to 0.5 grams per pound (1.1 grams per kg) of body weight for pregnant women.
You’ll want to be including protein in every meal and snack to meet your needs.
The requirement for micronutrients, which include vitamins, minerals, and trace elements, increases even more than the need for macronutrients.
While some people are able to meet this growing demand through a well-planned, nutrient-dense eating plan, it can be a challenge for others.
You may need to take vitamin and mineral supplements for various reasons, including:
Nutrient deficiencies: Some people may need a supplement after a blood test reveals a deficiency in a vitamin or mineral. Correcting deficiencies is critical, as a shortage of nutrients like folate has been linked to birth defects.
Hyperemesis gravidarum: This pregnancy complication is characterized by severe nausea and vomiting. It can lead to weight loss and nutrient deficiencies.
Dietary restrictions: Women who follow specific diets, including vegans and those with food intolerances and allergies, may need to supplement with vitamins and minerals to prevent micronutrient deficiencies
Smoking: Although it’s critical for mothers to avoid cigarettes during pregnancy, those who continue to smoke have an increased need for specific nutrients like vitamin C and folate.
Multiple pregnancies: Women carrying more than one baby have higher micronutrient needs than women carrying one baby. Supplementing is often necessary to ensure optimal nutrition for both the mother and her babies.
Genetic mutations like MTHFR: Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) is a gene that converts folate into a form that the body can use. Pregnant women with this gene mutation may need to supplement with a specific form of folate to avoid complications.
Poor nutrition: Women who under eat or choose foods that are low in nutrients may need to supplement with vitamins and minerals to avoid deficiencies.
In addition, experts like those at the American College of Obstetricians and
Gynecologists (ACOG) recommend that all pregnant people take a prenatal vitamin and folic acid supplement. This is advised to fill nutritional gaps and prevent developmental abnormalities at birth like spina bifida.
Depending on your personal circumstances, be prepared to take on the task of adding supplements to your daily routine if directed by your healthcare provider.