Five Key Nutrients For A Healthy Mum And Bub

healthy mum

There’s nothing that I like more than being OTT psycho about things (in general) but more so in the third trimester. I don’t know what it is about the third trimester, but coming to the end of a pregnancy tends to bring it out in me.

I’m psycho when it comes to nesting, I’m psycho about my sleep, (I’m also psycho when it comes to my husband chewing loudly), BUT I’m most psycho about the food I eat. You see right now my babe is growing at a crazy rate (LOL takes after me) AND in fact, not only is she squishing all my organs making it hard for me to eat/breathe/pee but her doing this is forcing me to choose the nutrients I eat wisely.

Why?  because thanks to her teeny body, I can’t fit as much food in.

#SADbut true. *Tear*

Anyway, the third trimester is also when a baby’s brain is made so I eat salmon and flaxseeds like it’s the end of the world. I’ve also been craving salmon big time this pregnancy which has been super weird. Like some days, no matter how tired I am, I pack my toddler in the car and drag us salmon shopping because IF I DON’T EAT SALMON NOW I WILL DIE.

So weird.

Anyway, apart from my extreme ways of eating salmon and flaxseeds there are obviously a whole other range of nutrients required throughout pregnancy for not only a healthy bub, but a healthy mama as well.

And since I’m no Nutritionist (and eat more chocolate than I probably should), I thought I’d sit down with Belinda Reynolds, my fave. Dietitian and Nutritionist for BioCeuticals (and also a mother of two) to steal her top tips re. the nutrients you should be eating when you’re pregnant.

All of which, I’ve popped for you below. Like a cheat sheet. Super simple and easy.

healthy mum
32 weeks preggo with my babes <3

B vitamins

Originally folic acid was promoted as the key essential vitamin to take when planning for pregnancy. More recently, media attention has focused on vitamin B3’s importance. The truth is, all B vitamins play a role in supporting a healthy pregnancy and developing foetus. The B vitamins largely work together as a team in the body, and therefore simply supplementing with only one is not going to promote overall health. For example, vitamins B2 and B6 play a role in helping to activate folate so that it can do its job, while vitamin B12 is essential for one of the key the reactions in the body that takes place utilising folate. Vitamins B3 and B2 also play a key role in supporting energy production that is required to power a huge number of reactions that keep the body functioning. Therefore – it is best to go for foods rich in a variety of B vitamins, and consider a multi B rather than simply taking a single nutrient (unless of course you have been prescribed a product by your healthcare practitioner to target a specific dysfunction/imbalance in your system). Foods rich in B vitamins green leafy vegetables (and other vegetables such as sweet potato), avocado, certain nuts and seeds, wheat germ, legumes (e.g. lentils), poultry, fish and eggs.

Iodine

Iodine plays an essential role in thyroid functioning (it is a key building block for the production of thyroid hormone), and thyroid function is required to support healthy nervous system and brain development in the foetus. It is therefore important to be consume sufficient iodine through the diet, or use a supplement if you’re struggling to achieve this. Sources of iodine include seaweed (e.g. sushi), oysters, cranberries, salmon, eggs, also other seafood, and iodised salt.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D supports mum and bub health. Vitamin D deficient mums are at a greater risk of giving birth to D deficient babies. Why is this a problem? Vitamin D plays a role in the functioning of the brain, the immune system, the bones and muscles just to name a few areas. Mum’s are more at risk of infection if vitamin D deficiency is present, as is her new born child. Bone and muscle development will be compromised in a D deficient child, and due to the role of vitamin D in also modulating immune function, there may also be a heightened risk of allergic conditions. Because unprotected sun exposure that is required for vitamin D synthesis in the body is not recommended due to associated risks – a supplement can be necessary. Women at particular risk of deficiencies are those that are obese, and also those that are not regularly outside (eg. working long hours in winter months) or those that cover their skin for religious reasons.

Essential Fatty Acids

Essential fatty acids, such as those found in oily fish, virgin olive oil, certain raw nuts and avocado, are important for health. The long chain omega-3 fats found in fish have specifically been shown to support the brain and nervous system development of the growing foetus and new born (emphasising fish oil’s benefit during breastfeeding). These oils are also anti-inflammatory and support many aspects of health, including that of the heart and skin.

Probiotics and Prebiotics

The friendly bacteria that live within our bodies have proven time and again to play important roles in health, relating to immune functioning, digestive function, a healthy mood, and even healthy fertility. In addition, imbalances in bacteria in the body during pregnancy and breastfeeding have been associated with an increased risk of allergies and asthma in babies, plus a greater risk of urogenital infections (e.g. cystitis, thrush, vaginosis) and mastitis in mum. For this reason, foods rich in fibre that feed the bacteria in our gut are essential, and using a good probiotic (speak to your healthcare practitioner for advice) following antibiotic use or long-term use of the oral contraceptive pill is recommended.

Belinda is a dietitian, nutritionist and Education Manager at BioCeuticals. She graduated with an Honours Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics in 2003, and has been involved in the complementary medicine industry for over 17 years, working as a lecturer on sports nutrition at the Australian College of Natural Therapies, writer and presenter throughout Australia and overseas. Her topics of interest include nutritional medicine, and how diet and lifestyle influence mood and immune health. As a mother of two, pre- and postnatal, infant and child health have evolved as subjects particularly close to her heart.

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Tell me babez, what foods did you crave during the third trimester?

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