Pregnancy & breastfeeding

You are pregnant? - "CONGRATULATIONS"

Signs of pregnancy vary from woman to woman. Typical symptoms include tiredness, nausea and a pulling sensation in the abdomen. If you don't have your period, a pregnancy test will tell you for sure. You have nine extraordinary months ahead of you - from fertilization to the birth of your child!

Every mother wants to support the development of her growing child in the best possible way. A balanced diet and targeted supplementation with vitamins, minerals, trace elements and fatty acids are particularly important. In this article we show which micronutrients, fatty acids and other important active substances you should take additionally during pregnancy and why.

What do you find out here?

  • Why are micronutrients important for pregnant and breastfeeding women?
  • What are the benefits of micronutrients during pregnancy and breastfeeding?
  • An overview of the most important micronutrients for pregnant women
  • Nutrient deficiencies and the consequences for mother and child
  • Micronutrients for complaints during pregnancy and breastfeeding
Maria Walliser (Stiftung Folsäure)
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Schwagere Frau liegend auf Wiese
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Renate Süvegh, Pflegefachfrau
Support during the postpartum period and breastfeeding.

For many years I have been accompanying families on their way to becoming parents after leaving the hospital - and I still do this with a lot of joy and enthusiasm for my profession ...

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What are the benefits of micronutrients during pregnancy and breastfeeding & which ones are important?

Vitamins, minerals, trace elements as well as fatty and amino acids are mainly needed to cover the mother's increased requirements. A sufficient supply of all vital micronutrients also serves the optimal development of the child and promotes a positive course of pregnancy.

Vitamin A
In the first three months of pregnancy, very high amounts of vitamin A can lead to malformations in the embryo. This is why pregnant women should not eat liver and liver products, including cod liver oil. However, you should not avoid vitamin A completely, because a vitamin A deficiency can also lead to complications for mother and child.

Vitamin C
The well-known vitamin C is, among other things, responsible for the formation of collagen. This is responsible for the elasticity of skin, bones and blood vessels. A sufficient supply through the diet and any dietary supplements benefit both mother and child. So include good sources of vitamin C in your diet. You don't have to eat oranges every day - there are even better sources of vitamin C such as chillies, broccoli and kiwi.

Folic acid and other B vitamins
Every woman should be aware of the importance of folic acid during pregnancy before she becomes pregnant. The folic acid requirement of an expectant mother is over 80 % higher than that of a woman who is not expecting a child. Especially in the first trimester of pregnancy, a sufficient supply of folic acid is very important, because it can prevent malformations such as an "open back" in the baby.

Not only the need for folic acid is increased during pregnancy, but also for other B vitamins (thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), pyridoxine (B6), cobalamin (B12), biotin, niacin, pantothenic acid). All of them fulfil many important functions during pregnancy. Thus, an adequate supply is important for the prevention of complications during pregnancy.

Vitamin K
In the second half of pregnancy, your growing child builds up a lot of bone mass. Because vitamin K is also important for bone formation, you should therefore regularly eat foods that contain a lot of vitamin K during this phase. These include broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower.

Due to the increased hormone production of the thyroid glands and the increased excretion through the urine, the need for iodine increases by 67 % during pregnancy.
Iodine is involved in the development of the mental and motor skills of the foetus. Even a mild to moderate iodine deficiency in the mother during pregnancy can increase the risk of neurological developmental disorders in the child.

The body of an expectant mother must produce millions of new red blood cells to meet the increased oxygen demand. In addition, the foetus must be supplied with enough iron for blood formation. To fulfil these functions, a pregnant woman's iron requirement doubles. The mother's iron reserves are severely strained as a result, and it is difficult to meet the requirement solely through a balanced diet during pregnancy.

Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA
It is becoming more and more known how valuable omega-3 fatty acids are for humans. EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) are two important omega-3 fatty acids and are also very important building blocks for the development of the brain and eyes in growing children.
Did you know that a person's brain cells are formed almost exclusively during pregnancy and the first year of life? A sufficient supply of the most important fatty acids is therefore vital. Vegetable oils, nuts and fatty fish are good sources of the important omega-3 fatty acids. 

Expectant mothers need about 50 % more zinc than before pregnancy. This additional requirement can often not be covered by diet alone. Important food sources of zinc are sprouted grains from rye and wheat, nuts such as pecan or cashew nuts, and beef, pork or cheese.
Zinc is involved in over 300 metabolic processes in the body of mother and child. An adequate supply of zinc can protect a pregnant woman from colds and infections and reduce the risk of gestational diabetes.

Nutrient deficiency and the consequences for mother and child

Source: Burgerstein Manual of Nutrients, Edition 2018

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