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Most Women Unaware of Nutrient Needed for Babies’ Development During Pregnanc

s Greenberger, M.S.W., president and CEO of the Society for Women’s Health Research.

In addition to eating a balance of foods during pregnancy and breastfeeding, women should include the following nutrients in their diets:

? Folic acid: 400 mcg/day to make healthy cells and prevent certain birth defects. The recommendation for folic acid can be met by consuming enriched cereals and grains, by taking a multivitamin, or folic acid supplements.

? Calcium with vitamin D: 1,000 mg of calcium with 200 IU of vitamin D per day for strong bones and teeth. Calcium is readily available in dairy products and fortified foods.

? DHA Omega-3: 300 mg/day for a healthy pregnancy and ongoing health. DHA is found in cold-water oily fish, such as mackerel, herring and salmon. However, pregnant women and women considering pregnancy should not eat certain types of fish because of contaminants which have been shown to harm an unborn infant's nervous system, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. An algal-based source of DHA has been added as an ingredient to some eggs, soymilk, nutrition bars and other foods, providing a safe and healthy alternative. Women should check nutrition labels and ask their grocers and health care providers what foods contain algal-based sources of DHA. Algal-based DHA is also available as a supplement.

Other Survey Findings:

? Wishful thinking: If they could choose to add DHA to a food, more than a third (39 percent) chose cereal or cereal bars, followed by milk (36 percent), orange juice (34 percent) and pasta (25 percent). A hopeful 19 percent wished that DHA could be added to chocolate.

? Eating more, but enjoying it less: Forty-two percent eat more food than usual during pregnancy, and 33 percent are unable to eat foods they normally like.

? The fish factor: Just 17 percent of women are aware that fish is a source of DHA. When informed that pregnant w
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