The Nutrient Gap in Childbearing Age Women:
To reiterate a vital point, approximately 90% of women of childbearing age are undernourished when it comes to providing their bodies with the essential nutrients needed for a healthy pregnancy. This statistic is a sobering reminder that nutrition plays a pivotal role in fertility and the development of a healthy baby. Science has shown us that to optimize fertility and set the stage for a successful pregnancy, we must be diligent not only about our diet but also about specific nutrients.
Are You Getting Enough? Prioritizing Nutrient Density
At the heart of preconception and pregnancy nutrition lies the concept of nutrient density. This means ensuring that you’re not just consuming calories but that those calories are packed with essential nutrients to help support the growth and development of a healthy and strong baby. Let’s delve into a few key nutrients that are often lacking in most people’s diets:
- 1. Protein: Building Blocks for a Healthy Baby
Protein is a foundational nutrient, vital for regulating blood sugar levels and, most importantly, for nurturing the growth and development of your baby. Shockingly, research reveals that up to 67% of third-trimester moms fall below optimal protein levels. Even more concerning, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) significantly underestimates the protein needs for pregnant women—by as much as 73%. To support a healthy pregnancy, aim for about 35% of your daily calories from protein, equivalent to 75-100g a day. You can source protein from bone broth, meat, collagen, eggs, plain Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and beans.
- 2. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: The Brain Builders
Omega-3 fatty acids are indispensable for supporting egg quality, aiding in the brain and eye development of babies, and possibly even reducing depressive symptoms in women with perinatal depression. Unfortunately, recent research has shown more than ⅔ of adults and 95% of children are not meeting recommended amounts. To promote a healthy pregnancy, research suggests a combined intake of 1000mg of EPA + DHA. WeNatal Omega DHA+ contains 830 mg of total omegas. Sources of omega-3s include fatty fish, eggs, avocados, and flax seeds.
- 3. Vitamin D: The Sunshine Vitamin for Mom and Baby
Vitamin D is crucial for calcium absorption, benefiting both you and your baby. It may also reduce the risk of pregnancy complications such as pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, low birth weight, and preterm birth. Astonishingly, 95% of people are deficient in vitamin D, even in sunnier climates. Aim for 4,000 IU of vitamin D for safe and effective levels. WeNatal for Her is among the very few prenatal supplements on the market that provide 4,000 IU of Vitamin D. Sources of vitamin D include sunlight, fatty fish, egg yolks, and fortified foods.
- 4. Choline: The Unsung Hero of Prenatal Nutrition
Choline is a nutrient often overlooked but plays a vital role in the development, structure, and function of every cell in your body. Its significance is particularly pronounced in brain development and the genetic expression of a growing baby. Shockingly, 94% of women do not meet the recommended daily intake of choline through diet alone. Surprisingly, many prenatal supplements fall short when it comes to providing sufficient choline. WeNatal for Her stands out by offering a substantial 400mg of choline, ensuring you get this vital nutrient to support the health and development of both you and your baby. Best sources of choline are eggs (with the yolk), organ meat and fatty fish like salmon.
- 5. Iron: The lifeline to the baby
Iron: needed to make red blood cells and carry oxygen to all of mom’s and baby’s body tissues. Pregnant women need at least double the amount of iron compared to non-pregnant women, and many women of childbearing age are low or deficient in iron. Having enough iron throughout pregnancy is important for the health and safety of both mom and baby. Pregnant women should aim to get 27 mg of iron a day. WeNatal for Her contains 18mg of iron- which most other prenatals leave out. The best food sources are liver and organ meats, spinach, red meat, pumpkin seeds.
Nutrition is the foundation upon which a healthy pregnancy is built. It’s not just about calories; it’s about the quality of those calories. By being diligent about your nutrient intake and choosing prenatal supplements that prioritize these essential nutrients, you’re taking significant steps toward ensuring a healthier pregnancy journey. Your body deserves the best, and so does your growing baby. Prioritize your health and future by focusing on nutrient density and making informed choices about the supplements you choose. Remember, the journey to motherhood begins with nourishing your body and ensuring it has the vital nutrients it needs.