Nutrition during your pregnancy is critical to maintaining the health of both you and your developing fetus.
Nutrition during your pregnancy is critical to maintaining the health of both you and your developing fetus. In the first 12 weeks, you may be more concerned about preventing a miscarriage -- the University of Maryland Medical Center website notes that 15 percent of pregnancies result in miscarriage, most of them within this time period. There are several vitamins you can take, however, to boost your chances of having a healthy pregnancy and avoiding a miscarriage.
Getting enough vitamin B9, also known as folic acid, in your diet when you're pregnant is important. The Family Doctor website reports that you should take 1 mg of folic acid every day to prevent defects to your baby's brain and spinal cord. You should also make sure to take in sufficient amounts, though, because the University of Maryland Medical Center notes that you may put yourself at a higher risk of miscarriage if you have low levels of folic acid in your body. Research published in the October 2002 "British Medical Journal" reveals that women who miscarried and had low folic acid levels were more likely to have fetuses with a chromosomal abnormality, which may contribute to a higher risk of miscarriage.
Your prenatal vitamins may contain folic acid, but you can also change your diet to incorporate foods that naturally provide you with a source of this critical vitamin. These foods include dark green, leafy vegetables like spinach and kale, soybeans, lima beans and orange juice.
Vitamin D, the vitamin associated with sunshine, plays a role in preventing miscarriage, as well. The Getting Pregnant Now website reports that vitamin D influences the development of the lining in your uterus, and when you have a vitamin D deficiency, your uterine lining may not be thick enough to support an embryo. This can result in miscarriage. MayoClinic.com cites research published in the August 2010 journal "Nutrition Reviews" that indicates adequate levels of vitamin D in your body can help improve pregnancy outcomes, including preventing preeclampsia. Preeclampsia, a condition that presents with dangerously high blood pressure and affects nearly 10 percent of all pregnancies in the United States, may result in miscarriage, according to ABC News.
The University of Maryland Medical Center website notes that you need 400 IU per day of vitamin D. In addition to taking vitamin D in supplement form, you can eat foods like cheese, butter, cream, milk and fish that are high in this nutrient. If you opt to include fish in your diet to improve your intake of vitamin D, the American Pregnancy Association warns you to avoid fish high in mercury, including shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish.
Like vitamin D, vitamin B2 is thought to affect your risk of developing preeclampsia during your pregnancy. Some research suggests the connection between a vitamin B2 deficiency and preeclampsia. A study published in the July 2000 journal "Obstetrics and Gynecology" indicates that participants with an increased risk of preeclampsia had riboflavin deficiencies, although a study published in the May 2006 "International Journal of Gynaecology and Obstetrics" refutes this finding, according to Linus Pauling Institute.
The BabyCenter website reveals that all pregnant women need vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin, to help energy levels. You should take approximately 1.4 mg per day of riboflavin to support your healthy pregnancy. Riboflavin may be part of your prenatal vitamin supplement, but you can also find vitamin B2 in yogurt, milk, eggs and almonds.