Pregnancy Nutrition: ACE Vitamins
(retinol) is needed for normal growth and good vision. Retinol is fat soluble and found in dairy products, eggs and oily fish.
Green and yellow fruits and vegetables contain pigments like beta-carotene which are converted in the body to form vitamin A.
Vitamin A deficiency is rare in the West, but is a major cause of blindness in the third world. A very high intake during pregnancy has been linked with birth defects so don’t take supplements that contain large amounts. Avoid liver or liver products for the same reason. You don’t have to restrict yellow, red and orange fruit and vegetables, however as they provide a form of the vitamin which is perfectly safe together with lots of other vitamins, minerals and pigments too.
Commonly known as vitamin C, ascorbic acid is essential for the repair and formation of tissues, healthy growth, strong bones, teeth and gums. It boosts the immune system and helps to establish a good immune system in your baby, thus helping to fight pregnancy infection. It is also important for healthy skin and aids iron absorption when taken with iron-containing foods.
Vitamin C can’t be stored by the body, so you need to have vitamin C-rich foods several times a day. Sources include fresh fruits and vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, potatoes, leafy herbs, sweet peppers, tomatoes, citrus fruit, blackcurrants and berries. Eat some of these raw for maximum vitamin C content and, if you cook them, microwave, stream or stir-fry when possible.
Vitamin E is the name given to a number of related antioxidant compounds called tocopherols. Deficiency of this vitamin is rare. Vitamin E is found in wheat germ, whole grains, eggs, milk, nuts, seeds, vegetable oils like sunflower and safflower, leafy vegetables, broccoli, avocados and soya.
It is always good to be mindful of looking after yourself when pregnant and being aware of your nutritional intake and weight.