Importance of Nutrition Before Pregnancy

Importance of Nutrition Before Pregnancy

Importance of Nutrition Before Pregnancy

, Importance of Nutrition Before PregnancyWe all are aware that nutrition is important during pregnancy. But, nutrition before pregnancy especially preceding few weeks of pregnancy is no less important. Nutrition during pre-pregnancy period can make lot of difference in the outcome of pregnancy, for the baby as well as for the mother. All expectant mothers should change their lifestyle and eating habits for healthy habits, e.g. smoking, alcohol (other drugs of addiction), caffeine, using certain medications should be avoided. These lifestyle changes should be brought about, ideally before pregnancy, for best result.

Pre-pregnancy nutrition can for improving immune system and health in general as a preparation for coming pregnancy and to make the pregnancy a success for the mother (not hampering general health of the mother) and by delivering a healthy baby, which is the ultimate expectation of pregnancy.

Beneficial nutrients before pregnancy:

It is important to consume nutrients as per RDA (recommended daily allowances). A pregnant woman should take care to consume adequate amount of some important nutrients at pre-pregnancy level, such as folic acid, vitamin D, vitamin B12, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, zinc etc. because deficiency of these nutrients just before pregnancy or at the time of conception can lead to abnormalities in the fetus/baby. A pregnant woman also needs to consume other nutrients as per RDA, although not mentioned here.

  • Folic acid: this is essential for growth of embryo. Deficiency of folic acid around the time of conception can cause neural tube defect in the baby. Consume food with rich folic acid content (such as green leafy vegetables, fresh fruits, sprouting beans etc.) or take folic acid supplements if you are planning to become pregnant.
  • Vitamin D: important nutrient and deficiency may cause pelvic malformations which can make normal delivery difficult.
  • Vitamin B12: deficiency of vitamin B12 may cause infertility; hence it is an important nutrient if you are planning pregnancy.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: play a role in regulation of reproductive hormones and prevent premature delivery. Rich sources include fish oil, flaxseeds, walnuts etc.
  • Magnesium and zinc: important for binding of reproductive hormones to their respective sites.

Potentially harmful nutrients before pregnancy:

All pregnant women should be aware of potentially harmful nutrients/foods before and during pregnancy.

Certain foods can be harmful at the time of conception and during pregnancy. Fish with high mercury content (such as swordfish, mackerel, and shark), foods with high Trans fat, excess caffeine etc. High mercury level may cause infertility and also pose problem for growth of fetus. High Trans fat in food (fried foods such as packaged foods, French fries, donuts, margarine etc. contain excess Trans fat) may lead to problem in ovulation and infertility. Excess caffeine consumption may lead to miscarriage.

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