All through her pregnancy, a woman needs to take proper care of her diet and nutrition, as it has a direct influence on the normal fetal development. At the same time, it has a bearing on the course of the pregnancy and the long-term health of the mother as well as her child. In the initial months of pregnancy, quality of the nutrition is much more important. However, as the time increases, quantity also needs to be taken into consideration. In case you want to explore some more nutrition facts for pregnant women, the following lines will surely come handy.
Pregnancy Nutrition Guide
Energy & Nutritional Requirements
A woman needs to understand the fact that during pregnancy, her body is faced with great nutrition demands, in order to ensure proper development of the fetus. Then, she also needs extra nutrients to supply energy for growth, health and functioning of the uterus, placenta and amniotic fluid. This is the reason why women are advised to increase their daily calorie consumption by 150 calories in the early days of pregnancy and with time, increase it to an extra 250 calories a day, by the end of pregnancy. However, she doesn't need to double her diet.
The increase in calories should be in a healthy form, for instance an additional glass of milk in the first trimester, which can be combined with an additional piece of fruit or slice of bread during the final six months. A pregnant woman also has to increase her protein intake, by 10 g (1/3 ounce) a day (apart from the usual 70 g daily). Then, there is a need to enhance carbohydrate as well as fat intake (along with essential fatty acids). The average weight gain by a woman in pregnancy is between 9 and 12 kg (20 to 26 lbs).
Minerals & Vitamins
When talking about increase in the vitamins and minerals consumed by a woman, when she becomes pregnant, more attention needs to be paid to folic acid, calcium, and iron in particular. This is because of the reason that more often than not, pregnant women are found to be deficient in them. Let us know about the nutrients in detail.
In pregnancy, a large amount of calcium is transferred from a woman's body, to the fetus, in order to provide for bone as well as teeth formation of the baby. However, in the first six months, the calcium is stored by the woman in her own bones. It is only from the seventh month onwards that fetus draws on the mother's store, since at this stage; the skeletal growth reaches its peak. At this point of time, mother should increase the consumption of high calcium-containing foods. Otherwise, her own teeth and bones might suffer and become brittle.
Iron, the nutrient which holds an important place in the process of blood formation, is required in greater quantities during pregnancy. This is because during this time not only are the fetal red blood cells being developed, but even the blood volume of the mother increases. So, there is a need for greater iron consumption, mainly through meat, fish, egg yolk, vegetables and whole-grain products. Though iron from animal origin is better assimilated than plant origin, you can have vitamin C with the latter, to absorb it better.
Folic acid, also known as vitamin B9 or folacin, is yet another nutrient whose consumption needs to be increased during pregnancy. This is because it is required for the proper development of the fetal central nervous system and also helps prevent developmental defects of the neural tube (spina bifida). Though folic acid is found in routine vegetables, wheat germ, tropical fruits and eggs, additional consumption is required in the months before pregnancy (if you have planned it) as well during the first trimester.