Ways to Meet Nutritional Requirements During Pregnancy and Lactation

Definition of Nutrition:

It is the process of nourishing or being nourished, especially the process by which a living organism assimilates food and uses it for growth and for replacement of tissues. The science or study that deals with food and nourishment, especially in humans is termed as nutrition.

Definition of Good Nutrition:

Good nutrition means body gets all the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals is it needs to work is best. Plan meals and snacks have to include nutrient-dense foods that are also low in calories.

Nutritional requirements during pregnancy and lactation
Fig: Nutritional requirements during pregnancy and lactation

Importance of Good Nutrition:

Most people know good nutrition and physical activity can help maintain a healthy weight. But the benefits of good nutrition go beyond weight. Good nutrition can help:

  • Reduce the risk of some diseases, including heart cancers, and osteoporosis,
  • Reduce high blood pressure,
  • Lower high cholesterol,
  • Improve well-being,
  • Improve ability to fight off illness,
  • Improve ability to recover from illness or injury,
  • Increase energy level.

What is a Balanced Diet?

A balanced diet is one that gives body the nutrients it needs to function correctly. In order to get the proper nutrition from diet, women should obtain the majority of daily calories from-

  1. Fresh fruits,
  2. Fresh vegetables,
  3. Whole grains,
  4. Legumes,
  5. Nuts,
  6. Lean proteins.

Nutritional Intake in Different Age Group:

  • Children ages 2 to 8: 1,000 to 1,400 calories
  • Active women ages 14 to 30: 2,400 calories Answer:
  • Sedentary women ages 14 to 30: 1,800 to 2,000 calories
  • Active men ages 14 to 30: 2,800 to 3,000 calories
  • Sedentary men ages 14 to 30: 2,000 to 2,600 calories
  • Active men and women over 30: 2,200 to 3,000 calories
  • Sedentary men and women over 30: 1,800 to 2,200 calories

Normal Weight Gain During Pregnancy:

It includes-

  1. Total normal weight gain during pregnancy is 11.5-16 kg.
  2. It should be 1.6 kg for the first trimester and 0.44 kg per week for the second and third trimester.
  3. The amount of weight gained is important; however the nutrients that makes up weight gain is more important.
  4. Weight gain from a diet lacking is essential nutrients is not beneficial as weight gain from a balanced diet.

Important Tips Regarding Nutrition for Pregnant and Lactating Mother:

It includes-

  • Eat more food during pregnancy.
  • Eat more whole grains, sprouted grams and fermented foods.
  • Take milk/meat/eggs in adequate amounts.
  • Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits.
  • Avoid superstitions and food taboos.
  • Do not use alcohol and tobacco. Take medicines only when prescribed.
  • Take iron, folate and calcium supplements regularly, after 14-16 weeks of pregnancy and continue the same during lactation.

Ways to Meet Nutritional Requirements During Pregnancy and Lactation:

It includes:

  1. The pregnant lactating woman should eat a wide variety of foods to make sure that her own nutritional needs as well as those of her growing foetus are met.
  2. There is no particular need to modify the usual dietary pattern. However, the quantity and frequency of usage of the different foods should be increased.
  3. She can derive maximum amount of energy (about 60%) from rice, wheat and millets. Cooking oil is a concentrated source of both energy and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
  4. Good quality protein is derived from milk, fish, meat, poultry and eggs. However, a proper combination of cereals, pulses and nuts also provides adequate proteins.
  5. Mineral and vitamin requirements are met by consuming a variety of seasonal vegetables particularly green leafy vegetables, milk and fresh fruits.
  6. Bioavailability of iron can be improved by using fermented and sprouted grams and foods rich in vitamin C such as citrus fruits.
  7. Milk is the best source of biologically available calcium.
  8. Though it is possible to meet the requirements for most of the nutrients through a balanced diet, pregnant lactating women are advised to take daily supplements of iron folic acid, vitamin B and calcium.

Nutritional Requirements of Lactation Mother:

Nutrition for lactation mother includes-

  • Energy need more than during pregnancy,
  • Protein,
  • Vitamins and minerals,
  • Specific concern.

Factors That Influence Nutritional Intakes During Pregnancy:

It includes-

  • Culture,
  • Age,
  • Nutritional knowledge,
  • Stress,
  • Anxiety,
  • Fatigue and other psychosocial characteristics may influence the food choices women make during pregnancy.

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