I’ve decided to start a new series on my blog having to do with the nutrients needed for pregnancy as a baby develops week by week. If that is a snoozefest for some of you readers, please know that I will continue to post the same random health information you have come to know and love on this blog in addition to the pregnancy series! And I won’t let it go 2 months between posts like I did for the past 2 months (I have so many good excuses though, maybe I can do a blog devoted solely to excuses in the future).
My inspiration for this idea is for one of my good friends who is entering her 27th week of pregnancy this week. It is very special to me that she and I are pregnant at the same time since we’ve been friends since we were teenagers and at one point we were even roommates. Maybe I can somehow work our fond memories into this blog, such as the times that we were both unemployed and would lay on the couch watching such classics as This Is Spinal Tap over and over. I really credit my success in life to what I learned in those days. This may be dedicated to her, but I’m sure she’s not the only woman out there who will ever be 27 weeks pregnant and looking for nutrition info on the internet, so here goes!
At 27 weeks, your baby weighs a little under 2 pounds and is about 14 1/2″ long. Around this time (usually right at week 27) your baby’s eyelids open for the first time! During this time, his retinas – the light sensitive portions of his eyes- mature in preparation for him to be able to see all of the amazing baby Einstein toys that you got for him at your baby shower (okay maybe there are more important things to see than that, but either way his eyes are maturing). Even in the womb, he may be able to see the difference between light and dark if you have light shining right on your belly (which I tend to have since I live in beautiful Hawaii and swim around in a bikini while many of you readers are living in the frozen tundra that is the mainland – ha!). During this week, make it a point to eat foods that will nourish your baby’s eye tissue – namely foods containing DHA and Vitamin A.
DHA stands for Docosahexaenoic Acid and is a fatty acid that makes up 30% of the fatty acids found in the retina (and the brain and in sperm, but we won’t worry about your grandkids right now – we’ll just focus on the bun already in the oven). It can be found in several foods including fatty fish and egg yolks. For vegans or others who can’t eat fish or eggs, blue-green algae is a good source of DHA. Cod liver oil is an incredibly rich source of DHA that can also be incorporated into your diet as a super food. If you can’t handle the taste of cod liver oil on a spoon, try taking it in capsules. A teaspoon or 2-4 capsules of cod liver oil daily is usually what is recommended during pregnancy.
Vitamin A is extremely important for eye health and a deficiency in Vitamin A has been strongly linked to poor eyesight and impaired night vision. Vitamin A is an integral player in the process of seeing, as it is part of the chain of events that happens between light hitting the retina and the brain registering and interpreting that image. Vitamin A can be found in its active form in egg yolks and butter (especially from grassfed cows). It is also present in large amounts in cod liver oil. Vitamin A can be found in another form – Beta Carotene – in orange and yellow vegetables such as pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and carrots. This form requires some conversion by the body before it is active, but it’s still very important. Beta Carotene is a fatty nutrient, so eating healthy fat such as butter or olive oil with vegetables containing Beta Carotene helps to increase absorption. Enjoy!
NOTE: This blog is not meant to replace the advice of a qualified healthcare practitioner.
(c) 2009 Jessica Forbes, MS CCN. All rights reserved.
December 7, 2009 2 Comments