Guest blogger: Kwany Lui, co-founder of Bundle Organics, juices made for expecting and new moms
In addition to providing for your own health in preparation for pregnancy, you also need to take in extra amounts of nutrients during pregnancy such as minerals and vitamins that are required to grow a healthy baby. After all, your intake will be your baby’s main source of nutrition! Here are the key nutrients and minerals you need:
Folic Acid: Folic acid is a B-complex vitamin found mostly in leafy green vegetables like kale and spinach, orange juice, and enriched grains. It is important for your baby’s cell growth and development as well as tissue formation. It has been shown to prevent spina bifida (also known as neural tube defects) and related birth defects that occur during the first 28 days of pregnancy—usually 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 ideally two to three months before conception and continuing throughout their pregnancy.
Iron: Iron is necessary for making hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body. Since blood is lost every month during menstruation and during childbirth, many women have reduced iron stores throughout their childbearing years. During your pregnancy, you need double the amount of iron that a non-pregnant woman needs. This extra iron helps your body make more blood to supply oxygen to your baby and your baby needs large amounts of iron to build its own red blood cells. Some iron rich foods include lean red meat, poultry, fish, and dried beans and peas.
Calcium: Calcium is necessary for your developing 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, and 8 oz. of skim milk provides only 300 mg of calcium. Therefore, many women end up having to take a separate calcium supplement or look to get 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 active 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. Small amounts of vitamin D are found in beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks. For these reasons, many foods in the U.S. are fortified with vitamin D. 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 not eating too much fish that are high in mercury during your pregnancy.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and well-balanced diet is so important for expecting moms and their growing babies. That is why we created Bundle Organics, a line of juices made with USDA organic fruits and veggies and fortified with OBGYN-recommended nutrients that complement your daily prenatal vitamins. Our juices include just the right amount of nutrients that pregnant women are already getting from a prenatal vitamin, like folic acid, while also providing those that might be more difficult to obtain, such as calcium, iron, and vitamin D. For moms who are looking for ways to supplement their nutritional intake during pregnancy, I hope you’ll give Bundle Organics a try. All the nutrients we have in our juices are good for pre-conception and breastfeeding too!
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.
*All images © Bundle Organics 2014