It’s hard work growing a baby. As OHbaby! naturopath Natasha Berman (qbaby.co.nz) points out, babies in utero are growing at a rapid rate of knots, yet nourished solely by what their mother eats and what already exists in her body. “It is therefore important that we see nutrients as building blocks for the growth and development of healthy babies and healthy adults”, says Natasha.
Food isn’t what it used to be. Natasha points out that modern farming practices have depleted the nutrient levels of our soils and, subsequently, fewer nutrients are transferred to our foods. Fertilisers used to boost production (increasing vegetable size and growth speed) compromise the nutritional value of crops. “Then the food is further assaulted with pesticides, herbicides and sprays, picked in an often unripe state, and transported many miles, further depleting vitamin stores”, says Natasha. Additionally, refining processes further strip nutrients from our food.
New Zealand Ministry of Health recommendations state women planning a pregnancy, or women in the early stages of pregnancy, take folic acid and iodine.
Folic acid is a B vitamin proven to reduce the risk of neural tube defects (NTD), such as spina bifida and anencephaly. The suggested dose will either be a low dose of 800 mcg per day, or a high dose of 5 mg per day, depending on the perceived risk of having an NTD-affected pregnancy, for at least four weeks before conception and continuing for 12 weeks after conception.
150 mcg of iodine daily is recommended for healthy pregnant and breastfeeding women, from confirmation of pregnancy until the discontinuation of breastfeeding. This tablet should be taken in addition to eating well and choosing iodine-containing foods such as low-fat milk products, eggs, seafood, and commercially prepared bread (which is also fortified with folic acid).
Nutritional supplements are proven to support a developing baby with essential nutrients. Also, they can enhance both female and male fertility as they can improve the health and vitality of the adult taking them.
This article is also available at OhBaby!