Vitamin C (85 mg):
A recent study shows that vitamin C may help prevent preterm delivery. Researchers suspect this nutrient may be necessary for proper collagen formation (it’s essential for strengthening your body’s membranes).
“You need a good amount of vitamin C to prevent premature rupture of the amniotic membranes, which causes preterm delivery,” says Anna Maria Siega-Riz, Ph.D., R.N., L.D.N., lead researcher of the study, sponsored by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The analysis of more than 2,000 pregnant women showed that daily intakes of 21 mg or less during the first trimester doubled the risk of preterm delivery.
A Day’s Worth of Vitamin C: (One of the following) 1 medium navel orange, 1 cup broccoli, 1 cup cantaloupe or 1 cup strawberries.
Note: Nutrient amounts are from the Washington, D.C.-based Institute of Medicine Dietary Reference Intakes guidelines for pregnancy.
-1 ounce baked tortilla chips (about 16 chips) with 1¼ cup salsa (150 calories)
-5 whole-wheat crackers with 1 ounce reduced-fat cheddar cheese (160 calories)
-1 medium apple with 1 tablespoon peanut butter (165 calories)
-1 hard-boiled egg and 3¼ cup calcium-fortified orange juice (160 calories)
-1¼ cup frozen yogurt drizzled with 1 tablespoon chocolate syrup (165 calories)
-Smoothie made from 1 cup vanilla soy milk, 1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries and 1 tablespoon wheat germ (170 calories)
-1 multigrain waffle topped with 1 tablespoon light cream cheese and 2 teaspoons apricot preserves (160 calories)
-1 1/2 cup low-fat vanilla ice cream topped with 1 tablespoon each dried cherries and low-fat granola (160 calories)
The Importance of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
No specific daily amount has been recommended for pregnancy; however, it is known that omega-3 fatty acids (one type is docosahexaenoic acid, commonly known as DHA) help boost your growing baby’s brain, eye and neurological development. And, research findings point to a reduction in prenatal depression in women who have an adequate intake of omega-3 fatty acids.
Australian researchers are currently recruiting expectant women for a trial to determine the effectiveness of taking a fish oil supplement during pregnancy to ward off postnatal depression. Best sources of omega-3’s: fattier varieties of fish, such as lake trout, Atlantic salmon, sturgeon and canned sardines. Flaxseed, tofu, walnuts and canola oil also are good sources.