Nutrients You Need When Pregnant or Breastfeeding
It’s always important to eat a balanced diet and pregnant or breastfeeding women need close to 500 additional calories per day to meet their energy needs and support the healthy growth of their baby. During pregnancy or while breastfeeding your baby, be sure to eat a variety of healthy foods
Key Nutrients You Need
You and your baby need the following nutrients for a healthy pregnancy:
This helps you build strong bones and teeth and it plays an important role in the healthy functioning of the circulatory, muscular, and nervous systems. During pregnancy you need 1,000 milligrams (mg) per day.
Eating a diet rich in iron helps red blood cells deliver oxygen to your baby and also prevents iron deficiency anemia. Without adequate amounts of iron, women may feel tired and are at increased risk of infections. Sources include lean red meat, dried beans, peas, and iron-fortified cereals. During pregnancy you need 27 mg per day.
This vitamin is integral for the development of healthy skin and bone growth. Vitamin A will also help in the development of your baby’s heart, eyes, and immune system. Carrots, leafy greens, and sweet potatoes are good sources.
Promotes healthy gums, and helps your body absorb iron. It also plays an important role in the growth and repair of tissue, and in bone and tooth development. Sources to consume include citrus fruit, broccoli, tomatoes, and strawberries. During pregnancy you need 85 mg daily.
Aids your body in the absorption of calcium to help your baby build healthy bones and teeth. Good sources include low fat fortified milk and orange juice, and fatty fish and egg yolks.
Helps form your baby’s red blood cells and helps your body break down the protein, fat, and carbohydrates. It also stimulates brain development and function. Sources include beef, liver, poultry, pork, whole-grain cereals, and bananas. During pregnancy you need 1.9 mg per day.
Plays an important role in the forming of your baby’s red blood cells, brain development and maintains your nervous system. The B12 vitamin is found only in animal products such as liver, meat, fish, poultry, eggs and milk. Speak with your doctor about taking a B12 supplement during your pregnancy and while breastfeeding if you’re vegetarian or vegan. During pregnancy you need 2.6 micrograms daily.
This is important as it helps the healthy development of your baby’s brain and spinal cord as it reduces the risk of neural tube defects. It also boosts the production of blood and protein. You can find folate in green, leafy vegetables, liver, orange juice, legumes and nuts.
Fibre can help ease the constipation that commonly comes with pregnancy. Whole grains – such as whole-wheat bread, whole-grain cereals, brown rice – fruits, vegetables, and legumes are good sources of fibre.
Protein helps build your baby’s muscles, bones, and other tissues, most importantly in the second and third trimesters. The recommended protein intake during the second half of pregnancy and while breastfeeding is 71 grams per day. Healthy sources of protein include lean meat, poultry, fish, beans, peanut butter, eggs, and tofu.
Request an appointment today and a consultant will be in touch to give you all the best antenatal advice for you and your baby throughout your pregnancy
Source: Marie Stopes South Africa (Safe Abortion and Post Abortion Family Planning)
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