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Vitamins and minerals during pregnancy and lactation Vitamins and minerals during pregnancy and lactation

Vitamins and minerals during pregnancy and lactation

Did you ever think why your body needs more nutrients during pregnancy and breastfeeding? During these important phases, your body undergoes many transformations which require you to make changes to your diet.

So pay attention to the quality of the foods you eat, because you're more prone to vitamin and mineral deficiencies during the following phases:

Pregnancy Phase Your baby takes his mineral and vitamin needs (especially iron) from your body, and this puts you at risk of developing certain deficiencies.
Delivery Phase Your body uses up so much energy and loses a lot of iron. Your body also starts to prepare for milk production.
Breastfeeding Phase Your body compensates for the vitamins and minerals it lost during the pregnancy and delivery phases and replenishes its reserves in order to produce more milk. Breastfeeding women should pay special attention to zinc as requirements for this mineral increase during this phase.

To prevent deficiencies in minerals and vitamins, the most important thing to do is consume a balanced and varied diet.
In the following cases, your physician may recommend vitamin and mineral supplements:

  • If you eat less than 1,800 calories per day.
  • In case of anemia or excessive loss of blood (especially after a caesarean section).
  • If you're a vegetarian, you don’t take any meat (rich in iron) or milk and dairy products (rich in calcium).
  • In case of exhaustion or dizziness.
  • In case you need it (upon doctor’s evaluation)

Do you need more vitamins and minerals if you are carrying twins?

Yes! You need more nutrients, especially calcium and iron. Though you won't have to take more than the prenatal supplements that your doctor prescribes (and make sure to have them), you have to pay extra attention to your diet: more variety, better quality of food and a little more quantity.

The more you take care of your nutrition during these important stages, the more you and your baby will benefit. The best thing you can do is follow a balanced diet that contains a variety of food from the essential food groups: bread and cereals, vegetables, fruits, meat and legumes, and milk and dairy products. Every group is important since they provide you with both energy and nutrients. 

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