In a new analysis of published studies on the dietary habits of women who were trying to conceive or were pregnant, most studies indicated that women do not meet nutritional recommendations for vegetable, cereal grain or folate intake. Pregnant women did not meet iron or calcium intake requirements in 91 percent and 55 percent of studies, respectively.
Pregnancy increases the demand for specific micronutrients which may not be met through diet alone. Micronutrients such as vitamin C, lysine, proline, folic acid, and the B group of vitamins, among others, are essential for a healthy baby and delivery, and for preventing complications during pregnancy.
Vitamin C is involved in a variety of cellular functions such as antioxidant protection, hormone production, immune system support, bone formation, and maintaining the integrity of the blood vessels. It also enhances the absorption of iron and helps in the prevention of anemia in the mother. Assisted by other micronutrients such as the amino acids lysine and proline, vitamin C additionally helps reduce the risk of premature delivery.
It is well known that folic acid deficiency in a pregnant woman leads to serious neural tube defects in the fetus, which may result in miscarriage. Vitamins B1, B2, and B6 are required for the optimal growth and health of the baby, while a deficiency of vitamin B12 can lead to irreparable damage to the nervous system.