Nutrition Recommendations in Pregnancy and Lactation

Nutritional Requirements for Pregnant and Breastfeeding Mothers

What is Nutrition?

The process of nourishing or being nourished especially the method by which a living organism assimilates food and uses it for growth and replacement of tissues. It is the study of science that deals with nourishment and food, especially in humans.
Nutritional requirements for pregnant women
Fig: Nutritional requirements for pregnant women
Nutrition and Energy Requirements During Pregnancy and Lactation:

Antenatal education or education plan for pregnant women on nutrition requirements:

1. Complex Carbohydrates:
Whenever possible, eat complex carbohydrates such as-

  • Whole grain bread and pasta,
  • Vegetables,
  • Beans,
  • Legumes.

2. Protein:
Protein needs in the second half of pregnancy are 1g/kg plus 20g/d (approximately 80g/d for the average woman).
Good sources of protein include-

  • Lean beef,
  • Beans,
  • Chicken,
  • Salmon,
  • Nuts,
  • Peanut butter,
  • Cottage cheese.

3. Fiber:
Try to eat 20 to 34gm of fiber a day to help prevent constipation and hemorrhoids. Women can get these from whole grains, veggies, legumes, and fruit. Products labeled refined or enriched are not being beneficial to women or their babies.

4. Vitamins and Minerals:
Vitamin and mineral preparations are commonly given but should not be substituted for adequate food intake.

5. Calcium:
Calcium helps build a baby’s bones and regulates the body’s use of fluids. Per day, a pregnant woman needs at least three servings of calcium. Good sources of calcium include-

  • Milk,
  • Yogurt,
  • Cheese,
  • Cabbage,
  • Tofu,
  • Eggs,
  • Pudding.

6. Supplementation especially Iron:
To avoid iron deficiency anemia the IOM recommends supplementing the diet of every pregnant woman with 30mg/d of elemental iron during doses of elemental iron prescribed range between 60 and 120mg/d.

Good sources of iron include-

  • Dark green, leafy vegetables,
  • Citrus fruits,
  • Enriched bread or cereals,
  • Lean beef and poultry,
  • Enriched bread or cereals,
  • Eggs,
  • Dried fruits.

7. Folic Acid:
Folic acid has been shown to effectively reduce the risk of neural tube defects (NTDs). A daily 4mg dose is recommended for patients who have had a previous pregnancy affected by NTDs. It should begin more than 1 month before pregnancy (preferably 3 months) and continued through the first 6-12 weeks of pregnancy.
Folate can get from these foods:

  • Liver,
  • Nuts,
  • Dried beans and lentils,
  • Eggs,
  • Dried beans and lentils,
  • Nuts and peanut butter,
  • Dark green leafy vegetables.

8. Salt Restriction:
Moderate amounts of food containing sodium are not harmful during normal pregnancy. In fact, sodium restriction may be potentially dangerous. There is no evidence that rapid weight grain in preeclampsia can be controlled with sodium restriction.

9. Iodine:
For the development and functioning of the thyroid gland and regulation of metabolism, Iodine is very critical. For pregnant women, the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) is 200 micrograms per day. Women can get iodine from:

  • Fluoridated drinking water,
  • Iodized (table) salt,
  • Eggs,
  • Milk.

10. Riboflavin (B2):
Riboflavin is helpful for fetal development and growth. The RDA for pregnant women is 1.6 milligrams and 1.8 milligrams for nursing women. A prenatal vitamin may be the best consistent source but B2 can be found in the liver, with smaller amounts present in soybeans, yogurt, and mushrooms.

11. Thiamine (B1):
Thiamine is very useful for the metabolism and development of the brain, nervous system, and heart. When women are pregnant, they need increased amounts of many vitamins, including B1. For pregnant women, the RDA is about 1.3 milligrams.

12. Vitamin A:
For proper cell growth and the development of the eyes, skin, blood, and immunity, and resistance to infection, Vitamin A is so critical.

13. Vitamin B-12:
Vitamin B-12 has been found mainly in dairy products and meats. So, it can be a problem for vegans or strict vegetarians. If anyone has dietary restrictions, make sure that the vitamin supplement has adequate B-12.

14. Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid):
The body does not stockpile Vitamin-C, so you require adjustable sources to fulfill your daily requirement. The RDA for pregnant women is 80milligrams per day. You can reach your target easily through the taking of citrus fruits, adding fresh lemon or lime juice to your water, and consuming fresh fruits and vegetables like berries, bell peppers, and broccoli.

15. Water:
A sufficient amount of water intake is very important for pregnant women. The energy requirement of each food component should be focused such as protein should be increased for nearly 2 times of non-pregnant women.

More questions related to this article:
  1. What do you mean by nutrition?
  2. What do you understand by nutrition?
  3. Explain nutritional requirements during pregnancy.
  4. Mention a health education plan for pregnant women on nutrition requirements.
  5. Explain the antenatal education on nutritional requirements for pregnant women.
  6. What are the major nutritional needs of a pregnant woman?
  7. Why are the nutrient needs of a lactating mother greater than her needs during her pregnancy?
  8. What nutrients does a breastfeeding mother need?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top