It’s no surprise that during pregnancy – more than at any other time in your life – you need to eat well. You are doing everything for two so in addition to providing for your own health, you also need an extra boost of vitamins and minerals to grow a healthy baby. After all, your intake will be your baby’s main source of nutrition!
We know you want to do what’s best for you and your baby, so here’s a little background on why these extra nutrients and minerals are so important:
Folic Acid: Folic acid is a B-complex vitamin found mostly in leafy green vegetables. Foods like kale, spinach, orange juice, and enriched grains are loaded with folic acid which is vital for your baby’s cell growth and development, as well as tissue formation. It has been shown that folic acid is essential to prevent spina bifida (also known as neural tube defects) and related birth defects that occur during the first 28 days of pregnancy, which is often before a woman even knows that she is pregnant! For this reason, it is recommended that women start taking at least 400 micrograms (0.4 mg) of folic acid two to three months before conception and throughout her pregnancy.
Iron: Iron is necessary for making hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout the body. Since blood is lost during menstruation and childbirth, many women have reduced iron stores throughout their childbearing years. During pregnancy, you need double the amount of iron that a non-pregnant woman needs. This extra iron not only helps your body make more blood to supply oxygen to your baby, but also supplies your baby with large amounts of iron needed to build its own red blood cells. Iron rich foods include lean red meat, poultry, fish, dried beans and peas.
Calcium: Calcium is necessary for your baby’s bones and teeth, and is needed most in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy when bone formation occurs. A daily total of 1,200 mg of elemental calcium is recommended during pregnancy. A prenatal vitamin contains around 150 to 200 mg of elemental calcium; an 8 oz. of skim milk provides only 30mg of calcium. Therefore, many women have to take a separate calcium supplement or seek calcium from other dietary sources, such as broccoli and dark, leafy greens.
Vitamin D: Vitamin D works with calcium to help develop and grow your baby’s bones and teeth. Although classified as a vitamin, vitamin D actually acts more like a hormone. Exposure to sunlight causes the vitamin D in your skin to be converted to the activate form of vitamin D, which is required for calcium to be absorbed into your body. If you are pregnant during the winter months, exposure to sunlight is often limited and you may be advised to take a vitamin D supplement or to increase your dietary intake. Unfortunately, very few foods in nature contain vitamin D. Fatty Fish (salmon, tuna, and mackerel) and fish liver oils are among the best sources, and small amounts of vitamin D are found in beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks. This is why many foods in the U.S. are fortified with vitamin D and women who are pregnant need 600 IUs of Vitamin D a day.
Essential Fatty Acids: Prenatal vitamins don’t usually contain essential fatty acids, such as the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, which help develop your baby’s brain, nerve, and eye tissues. Fish is a good source of DHA and EPA, but you have to be careful about eating too much fish that are high in mercury during your pregnancy.
A healthy lifestyle and well-balanced diet is so important for expecting moms and their growing babies and that is why we created Bundle Organics. Bundle Organics is a line of juices made with USDA organic fruits and veggies and fortified with OBGYN-recommended nutrients that complement your daily prenatal vitamins. We like to think of ourselves as the 'Do-It-All' juice for ‘Do-It-All' moms and moms-to be! Our juices include just the right amount of nutrients that pregnant women already get from a prenatal vitamin, like folic acid, while providing those that are more difficult to obtain, such as calcium, iron, and vitamin D. Bundle Organics is no brainer for new and expecting moms who want to supplement their nutritional intake. All the nutrients our Bundle Organics juices are good for pre-conception and breastfeeding too so we hope you’ll give us a try!
Guest contributor: Kwany Lui is the co-founder of Bundle Organics, a new line of organic prenatal juices that are pasteurized and specially designed to address the unique nutritional needs of expecting and new moms. The juices are made with organic fruits and veggies, plus an extra bump of essential vitamins like iron, calcium, vitamin D, omega 3, and folic acid to support a baby's healthy development. Bundle Organics is available at www.bundleorganics.com.