Maintaining a healthy & balanced diet at all stages of life is important, but even more important before, during and after pregnancy so as to help to take care of a mothers’ body and most importantly, ensure her little one grows into a strong, smart, intelligent and healthy bouncing baby!
The World Health Organization has estimated that 35% of women of childbearing age and 50% of pregnant women are currently affected by micronutrient deficiency. This condition is referred to as hidden hunger. This deficiency in women has been linked with many reproductive risks and evidence shows that it plays a critical role in the outcome of pregnancy.
To give babies the best chance at being born strong and healthy, it is important that mothers and mothers –to-be gather vital information on micronutrients as it relates to key stages of pregnancy.
A healthy baby begins with a healthy mum, so mothers –to- be should start as soon as possible to prepare their body and mind for motherhood right before they get pregnant and this should continue during pregnancy to when breastfeeding.

Why are Micronutrients important?
A good nutritional status before conception, during pregnancy and at breastfeeding is key to a successful pregnancy devoid of numerous complications that could arise if mothers are found to be deficient of key micronutrients.
Before conception
The nutritional status of childbearing-age women affects their overall health and thereby their ability to bear children. A poor nutritional status in women has been shown to decrease the probability of conception and contributes to the risk of early pregnancy loss. Also, insufficient energy stores in women due to poor nutrition may negatively affect ovulation, menses and challenge the beginning of pregnancy.
In addition, it has been noted that many pregnancies are often unplanned as many women later find out that they are pregnant, a nutritional status rich in specific micronutrient like folic acid in the first few weeks of pregnancy would help lower the risk of having a child with neural tube defects and improperly formed spinal cord.
During Pregnancy
When a mother suffers from micronutrient deficiency, the fetus also suffers because the fetus depends on the mother for the supply of nutrition during pregnancy. Insufficient supply from the mother could result in still births, pre-term delivery, growth retardation and other birth defects. It is important that the expectant mother should not lack key micronutrients during pregnancy.
A good nutritional status at this stage would also reduce the risk of the mother having hypertension and complications during labour.
In breastfeeding
Deficiency in micronutrients negatively impacts on the quality of breast milk. Inadequate nutrition increases the baby’s risk of diseases. Also, the extra nutritional demands during this period increase the vulnerability of the mother to further depletion during breastfeeding.
With the foregoing, for women of childbearing age to increase their chance of conception, reduce maternal deaths and complications in pregnancy and to ensure that babies’ live healthy lives, efforts must be in place to increase awareness of healthy nutrition before conception and throughout pregnancy.
It is expected that most nutrients needed during pregnancy should come from food, but for many reasons this has not been adequate as studies have shown. Hence, extra amount of nutrients are required as supplements in pregnancy.
Some key nutrients and their roles in pregnancy
Folic acid (folate) is a B vitamin that has been found to be a very important supplement for pregnant women. Folic acid supplements taken several weeks prior to pregnancy and for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy have been found to lower the risk of having a child with a neural tube defect by approximately 75 percent.
Other B Vitamins enhance the release of energy from food, as such provide energy and vitality during the pregnancy. They reduce tiredness and fatigue.
Calcium needs increases during pregnancy. Supplementing with calcium may reduce the risk of preeclampsia and pre-term delivery and improve the bone strength of the fetus.
Calcium also protects the mother’s bones as the baby grows. The baby takes this vital mineral from mother’s bones and teeth which could lead to the loss of bone density if the mother does not take extra calcium as the baby develops.
Iron helps the blood to deliver oxygen to the baby. It may also prevent the baby from being born too early or too small.
Iodine is an essential nutrient for the development of the fetal thyroid gland which, in turn, is important for brain development.
Antioxidants (e.g. beta-carotene, selenium, vitamin C & E etc.), supplementation reduces the risk of hypertension, pre-eclampsia and supports mother’s immune system during pregnancy.

It is essential to provide women of childbearing age and pregnant women with nutrition that would promote general health and wellbeing, support vital functions and assist in response to specific health need in women before conception, during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
Health organizations have advocated for the use of multi-nutrients supplementation for a healthy pregnancy outcome.
Cestra Pregna Multi Once A Day is a complete multi-nutrient purposely formulated to prepare women of reproductive age for pregnancy and promote healthy growth and development of the baby. It provides the special nutritional requirements of the pregnant woman and the developing baby throughout the pregnancy.
It also supports mother’s immune system, energy levels, and vitality during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Cestra Pregna Multi contains key nutrients required during pregnancy which includes amongst others folic acid, iron, calcium and antioxidants.
The antioxidants present in Cestra Pregna Multi can help reduce the risk of pregnancy-related hypertension and pre- eclampsia.
Preformed Vitamin A is excluded from the formula as excess preformed Vitamin A may cause birth defects and liver toxicity.
Learning from nature, Cestra Pregna Multi is formulated based on ‘Intelligent Nutrition Systems’ to prevent micronutrient deficiency. Nutrient levels and combination reflects those used in clinical trials and proven to be adequate and effective.
Cestra Pregna Multi Once A Day, the complete multi-nutrient formula for every woman before conception, during pregnancy and in breastfeeding is available as a pack of 30 ‘gentle non-constipating’ tablets.

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