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The diet of a pregnant woman should comprise of a healthy diet that provides proper nutrients required for the development of the baby and the health of pregnant women. Know more about the essential vitamins below.
Vitamin A and beta carotene both helps in the development of bones and teeth. It is mainly present in milk, eggs, potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, cantaloupe, spinach, broccoli, green and yellow/orange vegetables, and yellow/orange fruits. Other foods such as salmon, as well as fortified breakfast cereals, are a good source of vitamin A.
Vitamin B1 or thiamin is required to increase energy levels and regulating the nervous system. A deficiency of this vitamin in pregnant women can cause Infantile Beriberi in the newborn baby. Babies are usually affected with this disease through their mother’s milk. It is found in whole grain cereals, wheat germ, fortified cereals, kidney beans, Brussels sprouts, eggplant, tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms, green peas, nuts, legumes, pasta, rice, eggs, organ meats, and pork.
Vitamin B2 or riboflavin, maintains healthy skin, good eyesight, and proper energy levels. It is mainly found in dairy products, eggs, meat, fish, poultry, broccoli, avocado, mushrooms, dried peas, millet, beans, green leafy vegetables like spinach and asparagus, and fortified cereals. This vitamin is very important for a healthy pregnancy, as it ensures the development of the reproductive organs and body tissues.
Vitamin B3 or niacin not only promotes the nerves and digestion, but also helps to maintain healthy skin. Vitamin B3 is found mainly in high protein food, legumes, curd, brown rice, potatoes, eggs, peanuts, fortified cereals, brewer's’ yeast, cheese, breads, barley, oats, fish, meat, and milk.
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) helps pregnant women to overcome morning sickness, nausea, and vomiting. It helps to form RBC (Red Blood Cells). It also helps in brain development of the baby during pregnancy and also helps in improving the immune system. Vitamin B6 is present in eggs, fish, poultry, pork, liver, soybeans, peas, beans, broccoli, carrots, cantaloupe, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, soya bean, spinach, banana, sunflower seeds, whole grains, wheat germ, cereals, brown rice, peanuts, oats, walnuts, and bran. Starchy vegetables, including potatoes and non-citrus fruits, are also among the major sources of vitamin B6.
Vitamin B9 (folic acid or folate) helps to prevent NTD (Neural Tube Defects) such as spina bifida. It also helps to support the placenta. Folic acid is found in green leafy vegetables such as spinach and other foods such as broccoli, mushrooms, beets, cauliflower, peas, beans, legumes, margarines, breads, brown rice, brewer’s yeast, strawberries, orange, orange juice, banana, pasta, nuts, and fortified cereals.
Vitamin B12 helps in the neurological development of the unborn baby. It also helps in the formation of blood cells. Animal products, dairy products such as milk, yoghurt, tuna, trout fish, beef, ham, and poultry are some of the best sources of vitamin B12.
Vitamin C helps to increase immunity in the body and also absorb iron. As an antioxidant it protects the tissues from damage. Some of the food varieties that are rich in vitamin C are strawberries, papaya, broccoli, green beans, tomatoes, potatoes, and bell peppers. Citrus fruits mainly contain vitamin C.
Vitamin D is the anti-rachitic vitamin that helps in the formation of bones and teeth. It helps the body to use calcium and phosphorus and thus safeguarding mother and the fetus. It is mainly found in milk, egg, meat, margarine, soy products, powdered milk, fish (especially fatty fish), and natural sunlight.
Vitamin E is known for its antioxidant properties and is used by cells for carrying out vital functions of the body. It helps to strengthen the immune system and promotes the widening of blood vessels. It is very useful for the treatment of neonatal jaundice, IUGR (Intrauterine Growth Retardation), and toxemia of pregnancy. It is mainly found in fortified cereals, vegetable oil, spinach, wheat germ, and nuts.
Vitamin K is useful in treating blood clotting problems. It helps in preventing neonatal hemorrhaging in newborn babies as well. Leafy green vegetables, sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, meat, fish, and eggs are good sources of Vitamin K.
Taking prenatal vitamins along with eating healthy foods can help you get the nutrients you and your baby need before, during and after pregnancy.
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