Nutrition Tips for pregnant or breastfeeding mothers

Nutrition Tips for pregnant or breastfeeding mothers

Proper nutrition during pregnancy and while breastfeeding is important for mothers as well as crucial to their infants’ health. Women with poor nutrition together with their growing fetuses are at a greater risk of morbidity and death, from malnutrition. Malnutrition is a major concern for pregnant women or those who may become pregnant in developing countries of Africa. To meet their energy requirements and support the healthy growth of their unborn babies, healthy pregnant or breastfeeding women require between 300-500 extra calories per day.

Lack of adequate energy intake during pregnancy causes low infant birth weight which affects 20 million children living in underdeveloped countries, killing most of them in the first week of life. Those who survive beyond the first week can live with cognitive impairments, higher disease risk, and short stature, all of which are irreversible. Malnutrition also causes other fetal or infant health consequences such as brain damage and birth defects. Maternal malnutrition causes an increased risk of infection, weakness, and anemia in pregnant women. Monthly weight monitoring and simple health education for pregnancy are very effective for producing positive maternal and infant outcomes.

Use of Dietary Supplements While Pregnant or Breastfeeding

Nutrient needs are increased during growth periods such as pregnancy and breastfeeding. It is because of this reason that pregnant or breastfeeding mothers may be recommended dietary supplements during this important stage of the life cycle. Individual energy needs vary for each person, so they should be assessed before giving dietary supplementation. The World Health Organization recommends a daily intake of 60 milligrams of iron supplement per day for all pregnant women. Because pregnant adolescents are supporting both their own growth as well as the fetus’, they are required to consume extra protein of up to 101 grams at term or 1.5 grams per kilogram of pregnant body weight. During pregnancy or while breastfeeding, women should eat a variety of healthy foods and supplements.

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