I still remember the fateful day that I found out that I was pregnant with my very first baby. I had had a spa day and hair appointment scheduled for myself that afternoon. The pregnancy didn’t necessarily take me by surprise because me and my partner had been trying to get pregnant for quite a while. And I realized just before I was about to leave for my appointment that I needed to take a pregnancy test first. I just wanted to make sure that I wasn’t doing any harm on my baby. I had read somewhere in the past that hair dyes and chemicals could potentially harm a baby in the first trimester. I didn’t really have any bouts with morning sickness or nausea and so I wasn’t really sure whether I was pregnant or not.
But there it was on the stick. It was as clear as day. The marks read “pregnant” and I was hysterical. I was through the roof. I was so happy. This was something that I had been wanting for the longest time now. I was absolutely beaming with both joy and pride. I don’t think I had ever been happier in my life. I remember canceling my spa day and my hair appointment right away. And then I proceeded to jump on the internet and consume as much as I could about the do’s and don’ts of pregnancies. I read about all of the food that I should and shouldn’t have been consuming.
For one, I learned that I should be avoiding deli meats, undercooked meats, eggs, and fish. I knew I had to start limiting my caffeine and dairy intake. I was really strict about it because I didn’t want to take any risks. I eliminated everything that I didn’t need to be consuming from my diet. I knew that this was a blessing that I couldn’t just be taking for granted. I wanted to take this as seriously as possible.
But it wasn’t just about cutting out the dangerous stuff. It was also about doing and taking in everything that I should have. I knew that it wasn’t enough for me to be eliminating something like coffee from my diet. I had to be able to know the stuff that I NEEDED to be eating more of. I wanted to know the right food that I needed to be eating to optimize the health and nutrition of both my baby and myself. I learned that I should have been eating more fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds. I learned that I needed to be consuming a lot of quality unprocessed proteins from lean meats like chicken, beef, and fish. I also needed a good helping of some healthy carbohydrates from unprocessed sources.
I also made it a point to never obsess over my weight gain. I was going to gain weight and I accepted it. I didn’t want to be one of those pregnant women who still wanted to stay lean and trim. I knew that it was more about function over form at this point. And that meant eating healthy. That meant taking in all the nutrients that I needed for myself and the baby. And I knew that that would result in weight gain. All I had to concern myself with was the healthy food that I was eating. The amount of weight that I gained would be irrelevant at that point. I was growing another person inside of me after all. I really focused on the overall health and fitness of my body. I ate mindfully and with a purpose. I always made sure to feed myself whenever I felt hungry. I just had to make sure that I was eating quality foods that went through no artificial processes.
But I wanted to take it to the next level and I knew that food wasn’t enough. And that’s when I looked into the kind of dietary supplements that I should have been taking. Along with prenatal vitamins, I also took healthy doses of DHA to aid in brain development. I also took in some more iron supplements.
But this is the magic nutrient that I really discovered I needed at the time: Iron.
And it wasn’t just me. Iron is something that all of us need – but most especially, pregnant women. Research has shown that pregnant women need almost double the dosage of iron than regular people do. You have to know that your body uses iron to create extra blood both for yourself and for your baby. In addition to that, iron is also responsible for distributing oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body – as well as your baby’s. When you don’t have enough iron, you don’t get enough red blood cells in your body. And you’re going to end up feeling tired and exhausted all the time. And that can be detrimental to any kind of pregnancy. So, always make sure to have your fill of iron.