Minerals are inert
substances that occur in our diet. Humans require many of them for
normal functioning, growth and development. Minerals support our
life in a variety of ways including skeletal structure, cell growth
and energy production. During pregnancy and lactation, a mother's
need for many minerals increases, but a few demand special attention.
If intake or body stores of these precious minerals is deficient,
problems for both mother and baby can result.
Minerals that require extra attention during pregnancy include iron and zinc.
Here is a summary of what's currently known about these nutrients,
along with a few good food sources. The best way to maximize your
intake of minerals is to get them from foods, but at times supplementation
may be necessary.
Minerals in Pregnancy
is a time of growth of new maternal and fetal tissues. In
order to support this growth, blood volume and contents must
grow to help feed these tissues, including red blood cells.
Further, about one-third of your iron stores will be passed
on to your developing baby to form its blood and to be stored
for future use.
the most common causes of anemia during pregnancy is iron
deficiency. Anemia is the reduced ability of the blood to
carry oxygen to your body's cells and the growing baby. To
support these needs, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA)
has been set at 30 milligrams (mg) per day during the second
and third trimesters of pregnancy.
hard to get enough iron from your diet to support a pregnancy
and iron supplementation may be necessary. Major dietary sources
of iron include liver, kidneys, red meat, poultry, eggs, peas,
legumes (dried beans), dried fruits, dark green leafy vegetables,
enriched breads and cereals. The iron contained in plant foods
is best absorbed when a vitamin
C rich food is eaten at the same meal.
is important for the synthesis of DNA and is active in a number
of enzyme pathways required for cell division and growth. The
RDA for Zinc during pregnancy is only slightly elevated at 15
mg. Major dietary sources of Zinc include meat, liver, shell
fish, milk, whole grains and wheat germ.