Better Body Clinical Nutrition

BLOG

Nutritional support during pregnancy for both mother and child

Sunday, November 28, 2021 3:42 PM

In today’s post I wanted to cover an extremely important topic on what to eat for both mother and child during pregnancy.  I am referencing this article so feel free to click for an expaded look at this topic.  As always follow the advice of your obgyn, or midwife for any tailor made recommendations, as these cover the topic broadly.  In general there are six nutrients that I like to make sure are being provided in the diet with sufficient quantity.  These include Folate, B12, Protein, Zinc, Iron, and Iodine.  I recommend a whole food source for these nutrients, so naturally Standard Process is my number one choice for suplementation. 

You can order from them directly via http://betterbody.standardprocess.com and I have put a link to the corresponding product with that nutrient complex.  

Whole food nutrition is best because the dose is an amount that isn’t too much, but concentrated enough to help make it available when needed.

Food sources of these are as follows:

Folate: Deep Green Leafy Vegtables, Organ Meats, Oysters, Salmon, Milk, Carrots, Egg Yolks, Cantaloupe, Apricots, Pumpkins, Avocados, Beans.

B12: Milk, Eggs, Liver, fortified Brewer’s Yeast, Peanuts, Bananas, Sunflower Seeds, Comfrey Leaves, Kelp, Concord grapes, Raw Wheat Germ and Bee Pollen.

Protein: I am ok with plant based properly food combined protein or animal sourced, but the key here is get enough of the building blocks in to help with both mothers health as well as for the needs of her child.

Zinc: Lean beef, calves liver, beef liver, soybeans, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts, cashews, tuna fish, and peanuts. 

Iron: Liver, Molasses, Kelp, Beets, Green Vegetables

Iodine: Kelp, Dulse (other seaweeds), Swiss Chard, Turnip Greens, Garlic, Watercress, Pineapples, Pears, Artichokes, Citrus Fruit, Egg Yolks.

Here is a breakdown on the importance of each of these and why they are key nutrients for mother and child:

“ 1. Folate: Folate needs go up during pregnancy, as it’s essential for the creation of red blood cells and cellular division. Folate deficiency during pregnancy has been shown to cause anemia and birth defects in babies. It can also predispose the mother to Gestational diabetes. Women who have celiac disease may need more folate, as do many anemic women. It’s best to get tested to be safe. (source)

2. B12: B12 deficiency during pregnancy has been shown to cause depression in adult children, and to hinder children’s growth and development. B12 deficiencies are very common in those who don’t eat meat regularly. (source)

3. Protein: Protein needs during pregnancy are surprisingly higher than current medical recommendations. The first ever study to measure it was done in 2015. It found that protein needs are 39 per cent higher in early pregnancy and 73 per cent higher in late pregnancy than current nutrition regulations. (source) To understand the current recommendations and why they’re insufficient, go here.  

4. Zinc: Zinc deficiency during pregnancy has been shown to cause low birthweight in babies. (source) It can result in lifelong growth impairment. “The clinical manifestations of zinc deficiency include growth retardation, hypogonadism in males, neurosensory disorders, cell-mediated immunological dysfunctions, and skin changes.” Adequate zinc is necessary for DNA synthesis, cell division and protein synthesis...A deficiency of zinc also affects proliferation and maturity of lymphocytes adversely.” (source)

5. Iron deficiency during pregnancy has been shown to cause a host of health problems to developing babies. “Low maternal gestational iron intake is associated with autism, schizophrenia and abnormal brain structure in the offspring. Newborns with iron deficiency have compromised recognition memory, slower speed of processing and poorer bonding that persist in spite of postnatal iron repletion.” This study also concluded that fetal iron deficiency and the results of that continued long term into adulthood.(source)

6. Iodine deficiency during pregnancy is not well published but there is strong data that especially in the first trimester it’s imperative. Iodine needs increase about 50 per cent during pregnancy and there are estimates that >70 per cent of the North American population are deficient in iodine. Populations deficient in iodine experience lower overall IQ test scores consistently. “Iodine deficiency during pregnancy can cause maternal and fetal hypothyroidism and impair neurological development of the fetus. In moderate-to-severely iodine-deficient areas, controlled studies have demonstrated that iodine supplementation before or during early pregnancy eliminates new cases of cretinism, increases birthweight, reduces rates of perinatal and infant mortality and generally increases developmental scores in young children by 10-20 per cent.” (source)"