0
We're unable to sign you in at this time. Please try again in a few minutes.
Retry
We were able to sign you in, but your subscription(s) could not be found. Please try again in a few minutes.
Retry
There may be a problem with your account. Please contact the AMA Service Center to resolve this issue.
Contact the AMA Service Center:
Telephone: 1 (800) 262-2350 or 1 (312) 670-7827  *   Email: subscriptions@jamanetwork.com
Error Message ......
Advice for Patients |

Preventing Birth Defects With a Healthy Pregnancy Diet FREE

Megan A. Moreno, MD, MSEd, MPH, Writer; Fred Furtner, Illustrator; Frederick P. Rivara, MD, MPH, Editor
Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2012;166(2):200. doi:10.1001/archpediatrics.2011.1582.
Text Size: A A A
Published online

Pregnancy is a time in which nutrition is very important for the health of both mother and baby. Women who are pregnant are encouraged to eat a healthy diet with a variety of food groups.

HEALTHY DIET

  • Fruits and vegetables: Fruits and vegetables are healthy choices for both mother and baby. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables throughout pregnancy helps provide vitamins and minerals.

  • Dairy and calcium-rich foods: Both mother and baby need calcium for strong bones and teeth. Calcium also helps the circulatory, muscular, and nervous systems run normally. Dairy products are the richest source of calcium; many fruit juices and cereals are also fortified with calcium.

  • Lean protein: Protein is important for a baby's growth, especially during the second and third trimesters. Lean meat, poultry, fish, and eggs are good sources of protein. Other options include beans, tofu, dairy products, and peanut butter.

  • Breads and grains: Mothers should choose grains that are high in fiber and enriched such as whole-grain breads, cereals, pasta, and rice.

  • Iron-rich foods: Iron is important for the body to make hemoglobin, a protein in the red blood cells that delivers oxygen to tissues. During pregnancy, a mother's body needs additional iron to have enough oxygen for herself and her child. Good iron sources include lean red meat, poultry, and fish. Other sources include iron-fortified breakfast cereals, nuts, and dried fruit.

VITAMIN-RICH FOODS

Pregnancy is also a time in which certain vitamins are particularly important to promote a baby's growth and development.

  • Folic acid: Folic acid is a B vitamin that helps prevent neural tube defects, which are serious abnormalities of the brain and spinal cord. Many cereals are fortified with folic acid. Other sources include dark-green leafy vegetables and beans.

  • Vitamin C: Foods rich in vitamin C include oranges, grapefruits, strawberries, honeydew, papaya, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, green peppers, tomatoes, and mustard greens.

  • Vitamin D: Vitamin D helps build a baby's bones and teeth. Good sources of Vitamin D include fatty fish such as salmon and tuna as well as fortified milk or juice.

ADDITIONAL RESEARCH

A recent study in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine found exciting new information about the relationship between a healthy diet and the prevention of birth defects in babies. In this study, higher maternal diet quality was associated with lower risks of neural tube defects and having a cleft lip or palate. This research study helps us understand the importance of eating a high-quality diet that is varied and includes foods such as those just described to help prevent birth defects.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

INFORM YOURSELF

To find this and other Advice for Patients articles, go to the Advice for Patients link on the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine Web site at http://www.archpediatrics.com/.

ARTICLE INFORMATION

Source: Mayo Clinic

Box Reference

The Advice for Patients feature is a public service of Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. The information and recommendations appearing on this page are appropriate in most instances, but they are not a substitute for medical diagnosis. For specific information concerning your child's medical condition, Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine suggests that you consult your child's physician. This page may be photocopied noncommercially by physicians and other health care professionals to share with patients. To purchase bulk reprints, call 312/464-0776.

Figures

Tables

References

Correspondence

CME
Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Submit a Comment

Multimedia

Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.

Articles Related By Topic
Related Collections
PubMed Articles
JAMAevidence.com

The Rational Clinical Examination
Make the Diagnosis: Early Pregnancy

The Rational Clinical Examination
Original Article: Is This Patient Pregnant?