Women planning pregnancy should ideally do so 24 months prior to conception. However, due to the fact that most pregnancies are unplanned living a healthy lifestyle and consuming a balanced diet is vital for all menstruating females. The foods consumed by the pregnant woman builds her blood and it is her blood that nourishes and forms a developing embryo.
The first trimester weeks 1 through 12 of pregnancy, is when the formation of all of major organs are occurring, any vitamin or mineral deficiency during this stage can lead to malformations in the embryo. For example, a folic acid deficiency during the first 3 weeks after conception can lead to neural tube defects such as mental retardation, spinal bifida or even miscarriage.
Prenatal vitamins are widely prescribed by most physicians to their pregnant patients to ensure that they are getting the vitamins needed. However, while prenatal vitamins include a wide array of necessary nutrients they can also provide too much of a particular vitamin that the woman may not be deficient in. Too much of any vitamin can be dangerous to both mother and baby. The best way to get your nutrients is by making sure you eat a well balanced diet. Ask your physician for a vitamin and mineral panel (blood test) prior to beginning vitamin supplementation.
Click the link below for some healthy food choices.