Must Have Foods for Fetal Development
Providing the fetus with vital nutrients will help the child live a healthy and normal life ahead. The baby may not be another Einstein but developing his cognitive skills will definitely be less of a parental chore if he is given a head start with foods that nourish the brain and develop vision and other vital organs while still in its developmental stage.
While milk and other synthetic supplements are available for pregnant women to ensure that the important nutrients are absorbed by the fetus, it is still better to ingest them simultaneously from the following natural food.
• Fish (whether fresh, farm-raised or canned) is among the top foods that pregnant women should take daily (but not to exceed 12 ounces per week). This is a good source of so many essential nutrients as follows: (1) Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) which form the brain cell’s building block, (2) protein for growing tissues, (3) Vitamin D for developing skeletal system, and (4) vitamin E for normal growth rate. Salmon is one good choice among available fish varieties because of its low mercury count. Just do your research on the type of fish, as some high mercury containing fish can be harmful to a developing fetus.
• Eggs which are low-cost and easily available are another must-have food for pregnant women. An egg has high quality protein, choline, vitamins A, D, and B complex among other vitamins and minerals present in such a small food. All these contribute for normal growth or regulation of tissues, brain, skeletal and nervous system, and promotion of good eyesight and healthy skin.
• Foods with high folic acid content like spinach, legumes and other dark green leafy veggies are another must-have in the early phase of pregnancy to prevent brain and spinal defects.
• Calcium-rich foods such as milk, yogurt and cheese are also important for proper bone formation. Milk available for pregnant women also has folic acid and DHA for enhancing fetal brain development.
• Foods rich in iron such as peas, dried beans, lean red meats or even iron-fortified foodstuff should be taken to assist in red blood cell formation of the fetus.
• Sufficient consumption of foods loaded with Vitamin C found in tomatoes and citrus fruits are also a must because this vitamin helps iron to be absorbed efficiently by the body. It is also crucial for making collagen which partly makes up the cartilage, bones, tendons and skin.
Overall, pregnant women should eat daily all the food groups in proper ratio with increased intake of the above-mentioned food to meet the special needs of the developing fetus.
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G.S. Lacdao is a freelancer who writes for Special Education Parents Action Community where you can find information about special education for children with special needs, and share your stories with other members via the online forum.