If you’re thinking about getting pregnant, you’ve likely heard about folate. You know that it’s a critical nutrient for early fetal development. Adequate levels of folate can prevent against neural tube defects.
Folate is critical. Pregnant women (and women planning to conceive) should all be getting adequate folate intake or supplementation. However, the folate discussion is crowding out discussion of all of the other nutrients that are critical for a baby’s early development (nutrients that are relevant sometimes even before you know that you’re pregnant).
For example, for baby:
- Low maternal vitamin D status is linked with autism, impaired bone development and even asthma
- Low maternal B vitamin and zinc status have been associated with cleft lip and palate
- Maternal copper deficiency and zinc deficiency can both lead to intrauterine growth retardation
And, for mom:
- Low maternal status of vitamin D, selenium, zinc and omega 3’s have all been associated with postpartum depression
- Maternal vitamin A deficiency is associated with increased risk of anemia
We need all of these micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) to ensure the health of our baby...and to reinforce our own health.
We need both a balanced diet and targeted supplementation to make sure that we are getting all of these essential nutrients. Rather than over-focusing on folate, let’s ensure that we are getting access to all of the vitamins and minerals that are necessary for optimal health and development.