If you are currently pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant, here is a quick guide to dietary supplements that should be included in your daily regime according to the most recent version of the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. These are important minerals to include in addition to eating a healthy and well-balanced meal plan.
**Consult with your healthcare provider for guidance regarding caloric intake during pregnancy and lactation.
Supplements and foods to consider:
- Folate/Folic Acid- It is important to increase folic acid intake at least one month pre-pregnancy and during pregnancy in order to prevent neural tube defects. The recommended amount is 400-800mcg of folic acid per day. Food sources include dark leafy greens, beans, peas, and lentils. All enriched grains (i.e., bread, pasta, rice, and cereal) and some corn masa flours are also fortified with folic acid.
- Iron- Levels tend to fall when pregnant and then return back to normal post-lactating once menstruation begins. Pregnant women need twice as much iron in order to make the blood supply for the baby. Iron also helps move blood from your (and your baby’s) lungs to the rest of your body. Iron deficiency is very common for pregnant women so it is very important to consume at least 30mg/day to support this. Most prenatal vitamins cover this amount. Food sources include most animal sources, dark leafy greens, beans, lentils and peas.
- Iodine- Having the proper amount of iodine consumption is important for neurocognitive development of the fetus. Iodine is primarily in dairy products, eggs, seafood and iodized salt. Most pregnant women do not need to take a supplement.
- Choline- This mineral supports infant brain health and spinal development. This mineral is typically not found in prenatal vitamins but can be found in eggs, meat and some seafood as well as beans, peas and lentils. Speak with your healthcare provider if for choline supplement guidance.
- Seafood- A great source for Omega-3’s which are found in fatty fish. It is recommended to intake 8-12 ounces of seafood per week from sources lower in methylmercury. Over time, this mineral can be harmful to the brain and nervous system if a person is exposed to too much of it over time. This, in turn, can lead to negative effects on the developing fetus. Here are the best options: sardines, pollock, flounders, cod, tilapia, shrimp, oysters, clams, scallops and crab.
For more information about the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines, visit: https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov