Are you pregnant, thinking about having a kid, or even just curious about staying healthy during pregnancy? Well, we took a look at the major nutrition-related concerns here and what you can do to have a healthy and complication-free pregnancy!
One could argue that folic acid is the most important nutrient to pay attention to before or during pregnancy, so let’s start with it! Folic acid deficiency in the mother is associated with neural tube defects (NTD) in babies. This is where the neural tube in the spine doesn’t properly close up while forming and growing in the uterus and can cause numerous problems. To prevent this, whether you’re trying to get pregnant, expecting, or even a woman of childbearing age, make sure your diet has lots of foods that are rich in folic acid. This includes fruits, vegetables, legumes, and many fortified cereals. You want to aim for at least 400 micrograms of folic acid a day whether or not you’re expecting since many pregnancies are unplanned (over half in the US!). If you’re already expecting, boosting your intake to 600 micrograms (which can be done by taking a prenatal supplement daily plus a healthy diet) starting as early in the pregnancy as possible is best to prevent NTD. 1