Are you getting the necessary nutrients?

Do you know which essential nutrients you should be having during pregnancy?

Pregnant belly with healthy food

A lot of us know to take folic acid during pregnancy – but do you know the full range of nutrients you should be having during pregnancy and breastfeeding?

A nutrimum survey of 250 pregnant and breastfeeding women found that, while two-thirds recognise folic acid as a recommended nutrient, less than a third were aware of the role of vitamin D in pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Half were also unaware of the importance of omega 3 in babies' brain and eye development or of the need to increase iron intake, which supports blood formation and the immune system.

Only 11.8% knew how iodine contributes to normal cognitive function, and during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy it contributes to babies' brain development.

Worryingly, almost a third believed women should take vitamin A during pregnancy, which can pose a potential health risk to unborn babies.

Check out the below recipe for a smoothie to give you a boost, developed by dietician Lucy Jones:

  • 200ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 1 large handful washed baby spinach
  • 80g (approx. ¼) mango – cut into chunks
  • 80g pineapple (large slice) – cut into chunks
  • ½ banana
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed/linseed
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp natural live yoghurt

Smoothies are a great way to get a lot of nutrients at once. Milk and yoghurt not only provide protein, calcium and B12 but also iodine, which contributes to babies' brain development in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Flax and chia seeds help provide protein, fibre and omega 3. The spinach provides iron that supports normal blood formation and normal function of the immune system and folic acid that reduces the risk of neural tube defects in babies.

Mango and pineapple also provide folic acid, as well as additional vitamin C and fibre. Banana is a source of potassium and vitamin B6, which can help combat tiredness and fatigue.

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