Nutrition during pregnancy

Nutrition during Pregnancy

Nutrition during pregnancy is very much important. Good control of weight, blood pressure and blood glucose increase chances of healthy, normal weight, term infant and all these can be obtained by proper nutrition. Malnutrition of pregnant mother affects fetal and placental growth. Not getting enough micro nutrients causes low birth weight, premature birth, and other fetal problems. Micro nutrients include: folic acid, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin A, calcium, Vitamin D and iodine.

Now let us see in details about the nutrients required for Nutrition during pregnancy.

FOLIC ACID

Folic acid reduces risk of having a baby with neural tube defects and risk of premature birth. Recommended dietary allowance of folic acid is 500 micro grams per day. Most drugstores carry off-brands of this micronutrient. Supplement should be started at least one month before getting pregnant. It is recommended that any woman of childbearing age should be taking folic acid supplements because they may not know they are pregnant until it is too late.

       Neural Tube Defects

Nutrition during pregnancy
Nutrition during pregnancy
Nutrition during pregnancy
Nutrition during pregnancy
Nutrition during pregnancy
Nutrition during pregnancy

Good Sources of Folic Acid

  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Fortified cereals 

IRON

Iron reduces the risk of premature birth and low birth weight. Not getting enough iron could cause anaemia. Iron deficiency could contribute to developmental delays and behavioral disturbances in the infant and poor health in the mother. It also contributes to death and other disease development. Iron is essential for normal infant brain development. Iron helps create blood that is necessary for fetal demands and blood loss during delivery. Recommended dietary allowance of iron is 35mg per day.

Nutrition during pregnancy
Nutrition during pregnancy

Good Sources of Iron 

  • Lean red meat
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Fortified breakfast cereals  

OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS

Omega-3 Fatty acids are important for brain development and preventing preterm birth and essential for visual development. It reduces the incidence of heart disease and heart related death of the infant. Recommended dietary allowance of omege-3 fatty acid is approximately is 300mg per day.

Good Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

  • Fish oil capsules
  • Certain fish such as salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines, and fresh tuna
  • Vegetable oils such as sunflower, rapeseed, flaxseed, and walnut oils

CALCIUM AND VITAMIN D

Calcium and vitamin D are needed for strong bones and teeth. Vitamin D is needed for the formation of the fetal bones. Recommended dietary allowance of vitamin D is approximately is 10 micrograms per day and calcium is 1200 micrograms per day.

     Good Sources of Calcium and Vitamin D

  • Milk and other dairy products
  • Eggs
  • Meat
  • Certain fish such as salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines, and fresh tuna

VITAMIN A AND IODINE

Vitamin A is needed in small amounts to protect the fetus from immune system problems, blindness, infections, and death. High doses of Vitamin A can cause birth defects. Lack of iodine could contribute to stillbirth, birth defects, and decreased brain development. Iodine is important for brain development.

NO ALCOHOL AND LIMITED CAFFEINE

Alcohol is strictly prohibited to protect the infant from fetal alcohol syndrome and other birth defects. Avoid alcohol, including all wines, beers, hard liquor, and wine coolers. High caffeine intake linked to low birth weight and spontaneous fetal death and hence avoid food and beverages such as teas, coffee, colas, energy drinks, and chocolate.

WEIGHT GAIN AND CALORIC INTAKE

Pattern of weight gain during pregnancy is more important than the total amount of weight gained. It is better to gain the majority of your pregnancy weight during the last two trimesters. Additional calorie intake as per recommended dietary allowance should be 350 kcal per day alongwith the actual recommended dietary allowance as per physical activity which is 1900kcal for sedentary activity, 2230 kcal for moderate activity and 2850 kcal for heavy activity. Calorie is needed for adequate fetal growth and to support the higher maternal metabolism.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Nutrition during pregnancy is important for all pregnant women from all cultures and backgrounds. Nutrition in general is important. Poor nutrition and nutrition education is a problem that many Indians are facing. In past centuries, Indians have been displaced around the country changing their traditional eating habits. This has caused near-poverty conditions and dependence on government-supplied foods. These changes are associated with many health threats for adults and children. Poor nutritional status can contribute to poor health and limit the mother’s ability to provide adequate nutrition to the developing fetus. It is important for all women, to be aware of the proper nutrients that are needed for a healthy infant.

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