Recently there has been some new research published relating to the importance of Vitamin D throughout a pregnancy. In the past, the focus has mostly been on Folic Acid. While this is certainly still very important, it seems the importance of Vitamin D has been significantly underestimated.
The study found that many pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding are not getting sufficient Vitamin D, which is linked to pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes, along with decreased bone density in newborns.
The research also indicates that the majority of women actually are Vitamin D deficient at the start of their pregnancy, because the recommended 600 IUs is inadequate. Researchers are no recommending that pregnant women take at least a 1000 IU supplement.
Another change that has been made is the recommendations relating to iodine, which is important to brain development of the baby and the mothers metabolism. It is very important that pregnant women get enough iodine to protect their baby from impaired cognitive function and birth defects. A good way for you to acquire iodine through your diet is to use iodized salt and choose foods that are iodine rich such as cod, potatoes, and milk.
Choline is yet another important nutrient that to date has not been stressed enough for pregnant women. It is very important in the development of the baby’s brain. There have been recent studies that have shown women who aren’t getting enough choline through their diet have a significantly higher occurrence of tubal defects in the early months. Good foods for choline include lean beef, Brussels sprouts, cod, and eggs.
Research also goes so far as to caution pregnant women to avoid the use of artificial sweeteners, especially for those with gestational diabetes. It is much better to watch your sugar intake rather than use these substitutes. Research coming out of Denmark shows a significant increase in pre-term deliveries in women who consumed just one beverage a day containing aspartame sweetener. While more research is needed, it certainly should be taken seriously and many doctors are recommending to use caution and avoid artificial sweeteners if at all possible.
Some good news when it comes to those pleasure foods we love, dark chocolate along with natural cocoa have been given the thumbs up. Recent research has shown that these chocolates actually improve blood vessel function that is directly linked to improved cardio health. It is also linked to reducing hypertension and pre-eclampsia. What a great reason to spoil yourself with a little chocolate.
In addition to this recent dietary recommendation, you should always eat a diet that’s packed with fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and avoids processed foods.