Pregnancy is the happiest stage of a woman’s life but can also get complicated if proper care is not taken. One has to take care of both under nutrition and over nutrition as it also is a physiological burden on a woman’s body. It is a common psychology that people tend to believe that the mother needs to eat for two during pregnancy; nothing could be far from truth. To understand it better let us divide the nutrients and understand the significance of each, and how much and why we need them.
In nutritional terms the various nutrients that need to be taken care of comprises of
An increased calorie intake of 300 kcal is needed to meet the growing needs of the baby, the maternal tissue growth and also to maintain the good health of the uterus.
The usual protein need is 1 gm per kg body weight. During pregnancy there is an increased need of 15 g for the healthy growth of the baby and the mother.
3) FOLIC ACID
This is a very important nutrient to be taken care of during pregnancy. Deficiency of which may lead to neural tube defects in the foetus. 600ug/d is the prescribed dose for the same.
There is an increased need of 25mg per day to prevent mental retardation, stillbirth and promote healthy development of the brain of the foetus.
Iron is needed for the following reasons,
Formation of blood for the baby’s growth
To replace for the blood loss during delivery
To provide for reserve for baby as mothers milk lacks sufficient iron.
The additional iron need can be calculated to 700 mg extra.
6) VITAMIN C
Vitamin c helps in the absorption of iron and hence with increased iron intake there needs to be an increased consumption of vitamin c. 10 mg extra needs to be consumed.
The calcium needs can be calculated to about 1300 mg per day for a woman less than 19 years of age and 1000 mg per day for an adult woman. The normal calcium needs for a woman is around 600 mg per day.
If we try to put it in a simple way, one glass of milk/ fermented milk product has approx 150 calories, and milk is a complete meal in itself. If the expecting mother just adds 2 glasses of milk or paneer or chaach made from 500 ml milk, that is sufficient to meet the additional needs during pregnancy. The only thing lacking in milk is iron which can be taken care of separately. Right care taken during pregnancy can go a long way to prevent any complicacies along with sustaining good health of both the mother. A healthy happy mother raises a healthy happy family.