Pregnancy is a wonderful milestone in the life of a woman. It is an experience that a woman would like to nurture in her heart for a lifetime. It is a time when a woman will be overwhelmed with a variety of emotions ranging from the happiness of being pregnant to the anxiety about the proper health, growth and development of young baby to be.
Aim of Maternity Care:
Every expectant and nursing mother should maintain good health, eat well to maintain optimum nutritional status, learn the art of childcare and have a normal delivery.
Build a Healthy Base:
Pre pregnancy nutrition is as important as nutrition during pregnancy, as both help to determine fetal growth and therefore size and health of an infant at birth.
Eat a healthy and varied diet. Try and not overload your system and keep it fresh with juices and green vegetables.
Do light exercise regularly and be physically fit.
Small and frequent feedings should be taken, avoid fasting or missing any meal.
Increase daily consumption of whole grained breads, whole grain cereals, pulses, green leafy and yellow vegetables, fresh and dried fruits, milk and milk products proportionately.
Select foods that are good sources of iron and folic acid.
Avoid non – nutritive substances in food like alcohol, caffeine and tobacco.
Nutritional Requirements during Pregnancy:
Pregnancy is an important time to pay attention to oneself. If you take care of your health, you baby will be fine. The right diet is important for fetal growth. Moreover post pregnancy mothers need a nutritious diet as they are lactating – breastfeeding their young ones.
Energy & carbohydrates: Additional energy is required during pregnancy to support the metabolic demands of pregnancy and fetal growth.
Protein: During pregnancy there is a need for additional protein. It is to support the synthesis of maternal and fetal tissues. The efficiency of conversion of dietary protein to milk protein is 70%. So the need for protein is greatest when lactation has reached its maximum.
Minerals: In pregnancy the needs for calcium, iodine, iron and zinc and in lactation calcium and iron increases.
Vitamins: During pregnancy Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Thiamine, Riboflavin, Folic Acid and Vitamin B6and during lactation Vitamin C and Vitamin B are highly essential.
Fluid intake: You need to drink plenty of water. At least 4-6 glasses in addition to what is contained in the form of milk and other beverages. This should be taken throughout pregnancy and in lactation, an increased fluid is necessary for adequate milk production.
Supplements: These should be taken as per doctor’s prescription. Self medication is not recommended.