In 2014, when four-time 800-meter national champion Alysia Montano was 34 weeks pregnant she ran that distance in 2 minutes 32.13 seconds - 35 seconds slower than her personal best. And this year, she and other female athletes went public with just how tough it was to balance their career and wanting to be a mom, when their sponsor, Nike, suspended their pay for taking a pregnancy leave. (Nike has since revised its policies.)
Now, a new study shows that women can find it equally challenging to get the right balance of needed nutrients while pregnant. That increases their risk of premature birth and birth defects/developmental problems, and even cancer, in their offspring.
Recent research found that around 70% of U.S. pregnant women age 20 to 40 don't get the estimated average requirement of vitamins and minerals. Especially lacking (even in women who take a supplement): vitamins D, C, A, B6, K and E, and minerals choline, iron, folate, calcium, potassium, magnesium and zinc. What's over-the-top? Many pregnant women get too much sodium; 40% exceed the upper limit for iron; 33% are over on folic acid.
The solution? Have your doc check your nutrient levels and consider consulting a nutritionist. Eat seven to nine servings of veggies, fruit and 100% whole grains daily; stick with lean meat based proteins (no red meats). Take a prenatal multivitamin and omega-3 DHA as soon as you're thinking about getting pregnant. Check nutrition labels for added folic acid so you don't exceed your upper limit.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.