FOLIC ACID (FOLAT)
It is necessary for the growth of the baby, the expansion of the uterus, the development of the placenta. During pregnancy, the need for folate increases by 50%. It is a vitamin that needs to be supplemented because it cannot be stored in the body. It is known that folic acid supplementation protects the baby from developmental delay, reduces the risk of miscarriage, and has an inhibitory effect on neural tube defects. It is recommended to start 400 mcg/day folic acid supplementation before pregnancy and to continue this supplement throughout the first trimester of pregnancy. Planned pregnancies are important in this sense. In addition, nutritional sources of folate; Green leafy vegetables, whole grains and legumes should be included in the diet in abundance.
Adequate intake of vitamin D during pregnancy has a protective effect against low birth weight, preeclampsia (pregnancy poisoning) and gestational diabetes. About 90% of the required vitamin D comes from sunlight and 10% from food. Vitamin D is naturally found in fatty fish, liver, egg yolk, mushrooms, and in small amounts in red meat and cheese. Since vitamin D deficiency is a common health problem in our country; Daily 1200 IU (nine drops) vitamin D support is recommended, starting in the pre-pregnancy period and continuing after delivery.
OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS
Since omega-3 fatty acids constitute 60% of the dry weight of the brain, insufficient omega-3 intake during pregnancy can directly affect the baby’s brain development. Omega-3 fatty acids are a nutrient that cannot be produced in the body and must be taken from the outside. Adequate omega-3 can be obtained by consuming 2 servings (340 grams) of fish per week. However, today, seafood can contain heavy metals such as mercury, which can be toxic to babies.
In order to avoid this danger, it is important to prefer small sea fish such as sardines and anchovies, or to use an omega-3 supplement containing 200-300 mg of DHA daily if fish is not consumed. According to studies, the use of omega-3 supplements during pregnancy reduces the risk of preterm birth by 42%.
During pregnancy, the need for iodine increases due to the increase in thyroid hormones. It is stated that iodine deficiency in pregnancy leads to low birth weight babies, increased infant mortality rates, hearing impairment and impaired motor skills. Even if iodized salts and foods containing iodine are consumed in sufficient quantities, they cannot meet the daily iodine requirement. Therefore, it is recommended to give 200 µg/day iodine supplement daily to pregnant women.
Due to the increase in blood volume and placental requirements during pregnancy, the need for iron also increases. During this period, iron deficiency can cause problems such as growth and developmental delay in the baby. In order to avoid deficiency, daily 40-60 mg elemental iron supplementation is recommended starting from the fourth month of pregnancy and up to three months after delivery. Iron-rich foods such as red meat, poultry, dried fruits, legumes and enriched grain products should always be included in the diet of the expectant mother. Consumption of fruits, fresh juices and salads with meals increases the use of iron by the body.