DIET DURING PREGNANCY | Nutrional Effects | Weight gain during Pregnacy

DIET DURING PREGNANCY | Nutrional Effects | Weight gain during Pregnacy

DIET DURING PREGNANCY | Nutrional Effects | Weight gain during Pregnacy

DIET DURING PREGNANCY : Good nutrition during the 38 to 40 weeks of a normal pregnancy is essential for both mother and child. In addition, the pregnant woman must provide nutrients and calories for the fetus, the amniotic fluid, the placenta, and the increased blood volume and breast, uterine, and fat tissue.


It is also thought that the woman who consumed a nutritious diet before pregnancy is more apt to bear a healthy infant than one who did not.

Malnutrition of the mother causes decreased growth and mental retardation in the fetus. Low-birth-weight infants (less than 5.5 pounds) have higher mortality (death) rate than those of normal birth weight.

Weight Gain During Pregnancy:

Weight gain during pregnancy is natural and necessary for the infant to develop normally and for the mother to regain her health. The average weight gain during pregnancy is

During the first trimester of pregnancy, there is an average weight gain of only 2 to 4 pounds.

Most of the weight gain occurs during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy when it averages about 1 pound a week. This is because there is a substantial increase in maternal tissue.

The fetus grows a great deal during the third trimester. A pregnant adolescent who is still growing should gain more weight than a mature woman of the same size.

Women of average weight should avoid excessive weight gain and try to stay within the 25- to 35-pound average gain. If the woman is pregnant with twins, then the recommended weight gain is 35 to 45 pounds.

Overweight women can afford to gain less than the average woman, but not less than 15 pounds.

It is recommended that no one should lose weight during pregnancy, because it could cause nutrient deficiencies for both mother and infant.

Components of Weight Gain during Pregnancy, with Approximate Amounts of Gain:

  • Fetus -7.5 pounds
  • Amniotic fluid -2 pounds
  • Placenta- 1 pound
  • Uterus -2 pounds
  • Breasts 1–3 pounds
  • Blood volume -4 pounds
  • Maternal fat- 4 pounds

Nutritional Needs during Pregnancy:

Some specific nutrient requirements are increased dramatically during pregnancy.

The protein requirement is increased by 20% for pregnant women over 25 and by 25% for pregnant adolescents. Proteins are essential for tissue building, and protein-rich foods are excellent sources of many other essential nutrients, especially iron, copper, zinc, and the B vitamins.

Excess vitamin A (more than 3,000 RE) has been known to cause birth defects such as hydrocephaly (enlargement of the fluid-filled spaces of the brain), microcephaly (small head), mental retardation, ear, and eye abnormalities, cleft lip and palate, and heart defects.

The required amount of vitamin D is 10 micrograms.

The requirement for vitamin E is 15 mg. The amount f vitamin K required is given as AI of 75 to 90 micrograms depending upon age.

The requirements for all the water-soluble vitamins are increased during pregnancy. Additional vitamin C is needed to develop collagen and to increase the absorption of iron.

The B vitamins are needed in greater amounts because of their roles in metabolism and the development of red blood cells.

The requirements for the minerals calcium, iron, zinc, iodine, and selenium
are all increased during pregnancy.

Calcium is essential for the development of the infant’s bones and teeth as well as for blood clotting and
muscle action. If the mother is not consuming adequate calcium in her diet, the baby will get its calcium from her bones.

The need for iron increases because of the increased blood volume during pregnancy. In addition, the fetus increases its hemoglobin level to 20 to 22 grams per 100 ml of blood. This is near twice the normal human hemoglobin level of 13 to 14 mg per 100 ml of blood. The infant’s hemoglobin level is reduced to normal shortly after birth.

Fulfillment Of Nutritional Needs during Pregnancy:

  • Special care should be taken in the selection of food so that the necessary calories are provided by nutrient-dense foods.
  • One of the best ways of providing these nutrients is by drinking additional milk each day or using appropriate substitutes.
  • The extra milk will provide protein, calcium, phosphorus, thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin. If whole milk is used, it will also contribute to saturated fat and cholesterol and provide 150 calories per 8 ounces of milk.
  • Fat-free milk contributes no fat and provides 90 calories per 8-ounce serving and thus is the better choice.
  • To be sure that the vitamin requirements of pregnancy are met, obstetricians or Physicians may prescribe a
    prenatal vitamin supplement in addition to an iron supplement. However, the mother shouldn’t take any unprescribed nutrient supplement, as an excess of vitamins or minerals can be toxic to mother and

Key Points:

  • A pregnant woman is most likely to remain healthy and bear a healthy infant if she follows a well-balanced diet.
  • Anemia and PIH are two conditions that can be caused by inadequate nutrition.
  • Research has shown that maternal nutrition can affect the subsequent mental and physical health of the child.
  • Caloric and most nutrient requirements increase for pregnant women (especially adolescents) and women who are breastfeeding.
  • The average weight gain during pregnancy is 25 to 35 pounds.

Related Articles: DIABETES MELLITUS| Type2 Diabetes| Eat Well| Carbohydrate Counting

Helthwell: To maintain good health keep sure you make a healthy approach regarding physical, mental and your own well-being.

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