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NUTRITION: PRE AND POST PREGNANCY

By Public Health Office bncp

Nutrition in pregnancy is important for delivering a healthy baby. It provides the body with nourishment and energy to function flawlessly. Nutrition during, pre- and post-pregnancy is necessary for a healthy baby and mother. Nutrients that the body needs throughout pregnancy are proteins, carbohydrates, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. Choosing healthy and the right food is the key to preventing many diseases and complications. Every stage in a woman’s life is a new beginning that needs its strength, energy, and preparations which begin with the right diet and exercise. Maternal malnutrition leads to intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) and low birth weight

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Your nutrition may affect your fertility; a healthy diet will boost fertility and lower the risk of birth defects. Your pre-pregnancy or pre-conception diet determines your weight, which influences your infant’s birth weight. According to a study, underweight women are more likely to give birth to small infants, whereas overweight women are at risk to get gestational diabetes or high blood pressure.

During pregnancy, the body goes through a lot of physical and hormonal changes. It needs an adequate amount of nutrients not only for the mother but also for the baby inside. According to a source, a to-be-mother should eat normally in the first semester, then increase 350 calories daily in your second trimester and 450 calories daily in your third trimester


Due to hormonal changes, pregnant women get a craving for foods like ice cream, pickles, sweets, etc. During this period, it is pretty common to crave odd combinations. So, you can eat them but just balance them with nutritious foods.


During pregnancy, the most vital nutrient is the protein which helps in the baby’s growth. It is responsible for tissues development for both. It also increases the blood flow to the baby. Therefore, the quantity of protein intake increases with each trimester. Even nutrients like folic acid, vitamin D, calcium, and iron are equally important. Folic acid prevents neural tube and other defects in babies. As stated in a research paper, folic acid supplementation has been shown to decrease the risk of premature birth. Calcium is important to make bones and teeth stronger. It helps systems like the circulatory, neural, muscular to function normally and also regulate the body’s fluid. 


During pregnancy, iron intake prevents iron deficiency anaemia. it carries oxygen to blood to tissues and the baby. Also, iron deficiency produces complications for the baby.

Vitamin D also strengthens bones. Its deficiency leads to fatigue, muscle weakness, and even

depression.


Along with the above-mentioned nutrients, like carbohydrates, fats are also crucial.

image from https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/nutrition

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After pregnancy, the mother needs energy for nursing and to provide the baby with quality breastmilk. In a way, post-pregnancy nutrition is also important for the baby and mother.

Breastmilk should consist of DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid), which mothers will get from their diet. DHA is responsible for a baby’s nervous system. It is found that DHA prevents postpartum depression. It is found mainly in kinds of seafood like salmon, sardines.

During all this period, citrus fruits like oranges are the must-have fruits owing to vitamin C and calcium. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that boosts immunity and also avoids cell damage. They prevent iron deficiency and lowers the risk of disease. 

Drinking water is the topmost thing to do. Staying hydrated carries nutrients to tissues. It is good for healthy skin and sound sleep. It regulates temperature as well as mood.

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  • Most of the time, include green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, broccoli, etc. that contain folic acid.

  • Choose whole-grain fibrous foods like wheat bread, oats. It lowers the risk of gestational diabetes.

  • Include various types of legumes, beans like kidney beans, lentils, etc.

  • For calcium and protein, include low-fat dairy products like milk, cheese, yogurt, paneer, etc.

  • Eat fresh fruits like bananas, peaches, raspberries, etc.

  • If possible, include fish, lean meat for healthier fats and omega-3

  • Stay hydrated by drinking a suitable amount of water.

  • Avoid fizzy drinks, sugary food, excessive caffeine, and uncooked raw meat.

  • With the doctor’s recommendation, consume prenatal vitamins.

  • Quit smoking and alcohol.

  • Do perform exercise and yoga as suggested by the doctor.

According to a trustable source, women tend to consume much less amount of food than required. This can be because of poverty, maternal knowledge, negligence, etc.

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According to a research paper, almost a quarter of children in India, an estimated 7.5 million babies each year, have a low birth weight of less than 2.5 kg (UNICEF, 2013).

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In summary, now we are aware of nutrition, which is one of the critical factors in women’s phase for proper development and growth. Lack of nutrient-rich food won’t do good for the baby or to mother. So, make sure that the mom-to-be consumes healthy food with a happy and caring atmosphere around. Make sure to eat smartly considering aspects like climate, allergies, and quantity. Adequate nutrition helps to boost immunity, build muscles and bones, and makes your body work perfectly with proper fueling.

Bibliography:

Clark, C. (2020, July 13). What nutrients you need while pregnant. Healthline. Retrieved January 24, 2022, from https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/nutrition 

Nutrition during pregnancy. Johns Hopkins Medicine. (n.d.). Retrieved January 24, 2022, from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/nutrition-during-pregnancy 

Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2019, December 19). Pregnancy diet: Focus on these essential nutrients. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved January 24, 2022, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/pregnancy-nutrition/art-20045082?pg=2 

Maternal nutrition. UNICEF. (n.d.). Retrieved January 24, 2022, from https://www.unicef.org/nutrition/maternal


Tips for a healthy pre-pregnancy diet. Tommy's. Together, for every baby. (n.d.). Retrieved January 24, 2022, from https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/planning-a-pregnancy/are-you-ready-to-conceive/tips-healthy-pre-pregnancy-diet#:~:text=eat%20more%20fruit%20and%20vegetables,biscuits%2C%20cakes%20and%20fizzy%20drinks


Nutrition before pregnancy. Nutrition Before Pregnancy - Health Encyclopedia - University of Rochester Medical Center. (n.d.). Retrieved January 24, 2022, from https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=90&ContentID=P02479



Parker, H. (n.d.). Post-pregnancy diet: 12 foods for new moms. WebMD. Retrieved January 24, 2022, from https://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/breast-feeding-diet%231



Lindberg, S. (2020, July 31). Postpartum diet plan: Tips for Healthy Eating after giving birth. Healthline. Retrieved January 24, 2022, from https://www.healthline.com/health/postpartum-diet 

Image: https://preganews.com/what-to-eat-during-pregnancy