The quality and quantity of a mother’s diet can help avoid pregnancy complications like pre-eclampsia or gestational diabetes. Moreover, an infant’s growth and development depends directly on its mother’s diet. Eating a diet rich in colorful fruits and vegetables, protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and other phytonutrients results in a healthier infant. Research suggests that a healthy diet may also reduce the risk of chronic diseases later in life. When diet is not enough, prenatal supplements should be used to fill nutrient gaps.
Choline: While healthy adults can normally produce enough choline to cover their needs, during pregnancy, mothers transfer a significant amount of their choline stores to the developing baby. As a result, it is important for pregnant women to include choline-rich foods – eggs, meat, poultry, peanuts – in their diet, as this nutrient plays a role in spinal cord and brain development.
Vitamin D: Low vitamin D status is common globally, especially in pregnant women. It is important for pregnant women to consume recommended levels of vitamin D to absorb calcium from foods and to avoid pregnancy complications. Higher vitamin D levels in pregnant women means that newborns also have higher levels, reducing risk of rickets and contributing to long-term bone health.