Maternal Diet Vs Fetal Growth
during pregnancy is serious business. Research has shown that when mothers-to-be
eat poor diets, there is an increase in risk of low-birth-weight infants,
particularly in women with poor health and nutrition status before pregnancy.
The risk is compounded by lifestyle choices, such as smoking, that may affect
The March of Dimes suggests the following daily food portions for a pregnant
6 to 11 servings of breads and whole
3 to 5 servings of vegetables
2 to 4 servings of fruits
4 to 6 servings of milk and milk products
3 to 4 servings of meat and protein-rich
6 to 8 glasses of
water and no more than one soft drink or cup of
coffee a day to limit caffeine
There are a few critical nutrients
that play particularly important roles in fetal
development. The increased demand on your system, plus the developing fetus,
requires lots of extra nutrition. However, because your calorie needs don't
increase enough to guarantee that quantity eating will take care of making sure
you get those needed nutrients, you will have to pay special attention to your
diet, and also take an appropriate supplement. Those important nutrients are:
Despite that fact you don't need too many more, those extras that you do
need are very important.
Proper weight gain
on your part is needed to make sure your newborn is
delivered at a healthy weight. Add 200 to 300 calories per day during
the second and third trimesters.
Protein provides materials for the growing tissues, including the placenta,
the mother's blood and the baby. Get three good servings a day from tofu,
beans, chicken, fish (shellfish, canned fish, smaller ocean fish or
farm-raised fish), meat or eggs. The National Academy of Science suggests a
daily intake of 74 grams of protein during pregnancy.
Calcium: This mineral is needed for proper bone formation in the
baby and to help preserve the mother's
bone strength. The
need for calcium is most crucial during the last three months, when fetal
bone formation takes place. If the mom's diet doesn't supply enough calcium,
the fetus will draw the calcium it needs first, leaving the mother in a
depleted state. Drink a little more than one quart of milk a day to ensure
you get enough. This amount of milk will also make a significant
contribution toward your protein intake.
An iron supplement is recommended during pregnancy since it is so difficult
to get enough in your diet. The National Academy of Science recommends
pregnant women take a supplement containing 30 mg. of iron a day during the
second and third trimesters. Most of this iron is needed during the last
three months because that is when the baby is accumulating it for use during
early life. Moms also need this extra iron to replenish their red blood
supply and to accommodate the demand created by increased blood volume.
This is a B vitamin needed for proper cell division. Folic acid taken while
trying to conceive and in early pregnancy can help prevent certain birth
defects of the brain and spine. Studies show a reduced risk of spina bifida
(open spine) and anencephaly, by about 50 percent. Get 400 micrograms a day
at least one month before becoming pregnant because these birth defects
develop during the first month after conception, before most women know they are pregnant. A vitamin
supplement is the best way to ensure you have met you requirements. Include
foods like orange juice, spinach and legumes.
Fluids: You need extra fluid to feed your increased blood volume
and for amniotic fluid. Drink at least six to eight glasses of
liquid a day.
Holding back on them won't alleviate the swelling you may have during
pregnancy, in fact, too little fluid can tax your kidneys, and cause them to
retain fluid to ensure there's enough in your body.
This is important during pregnancy. Sodium helps to regulate the water in
the body. 2,000 to 8,000 milligrams of sodium a day is recommended during
pregnancy. There are 2,325 milligrams of sodium in one teaspoon of salt, and
because salt is in most foods, the increased need for it during pregnancy is
not too difficult to achieve
(15 mg)- Low levels could mean longer labor, low birth weight, and health
problems. Sources of Zinc are red meats, poultry, beans, nuts, whole grains,
fortified cereals, oysters, and dairy products.
A & Beta Carotene: (800 mcg)-Helps mom and baby's cells grow and
stay healthy. Food sources include-Liver, milk, eggs, carrots, spinach,
green and yellow vegetables, broccoli, potatoes, pumpkin, yellow fruits, and
D (10 mcg)-Helps develop baby's skeletal system. Prevents "rickets."
Different sources are Milk, fatty fish (shellfish, canned fish, smaller
ocean fish or farm-raised fish), egg yolks,and a little sunshine.
E (800 mcg)- Helps baby grow and develop at a normal rate. It is
found in vegetable oil, margarine, wheat germ, nuts, spinach, and fortified
C (60 - 85 mg)- An antioxidant that protects tissues from damage and
helps mom's body absorb iron. Builds healthy immune system for baby. In
order to get adequate Vitamin C include citrus fruits and juices, bell
peppers, green beans, strawberries, papaya, potatoes, broccoli, and tomatoes
in your diet.
Thiamin/B1 (1.5 mg)- Raises mom's energy level, and regulates
mom and baby's nervous system. Dietary sources include whole grain,
fortified cereals, wheat germ,
organ meats, eggs, rice, pasta, berries, nuts, legumes, and pork.
Riboflavin/B2 (1.6 mg) Maintains energy, good eyesight, and healthy
skin for mom and baby. Found in meats, poultry, fish (shellfish, canned
fish, smaller ocean fish or farm-raised fish), dairy products, fortified
cereals, and eggs.
Niacin/B3 (2 mg)- Maintains energy levels and nervous system, and
helps mom and baby have beautiful skin.
Can be found in
high-protein foods, fortified cereals and breads, meats, fish
(shellfish, canned fish, smaller ocean fish or farm-raised fish), milk,
eggs, and peanuts.
Pyridoxine/B6 (450 mg) -Helps calm mom's tummy. Dietary sources are
(shellfish, canned fish, smaller ocean fish or farm-raised
fish), liver, pork, eggs, soybeans, carrots, cabbage, cantaloupe, peas,
spinach, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, bananas, beans, broccoli, brown rice,
oats, bran, peanuts.
Pregnant women also frequently worry about weight gain. It's generally
recommended that a woman of normal weight gain approximately 25 to 30 pounds
during pregnancy - about 2 or 3 pounds each month. For individuals who start
their pregnancy overweight, their total weight
gain should be closer to 15 to 25 pounds. And those who are underweight should
gain 28 to 40 pounds.
Dated 03 July 2012