There is an important relationship between pregnant women and their babies. The physical and mental development of the fetus depends directly on the mother’s nutrition and this is only possible with a healthy diet of the mother. In addition, there are four important nutrients that must be taken during pregnancy: folic acid, calcium, iron, and protein. As a result of the mother’s undernutrition, the baby may have serious health problems. These are:
– Premature births
– Low weight babies (less than 2500 grams)
– Babies with poor physical and mental development
WHY IS NUTRITION IMPORTANT IN PREGNANCY?
Inadequate and unhealthy nutrition in pregnancy results in some health problems.
Anemia: Failure to meet the increasing need for iron during pregnancy can cause weakness, dizziness, miscarriage and prenatal death in pregnant women. The transport of oxygen from the mother to the fetus occurs by means of hemoglobin and iron is one of the substances that make up hemoglobin. Therefore, iron is a must for a healthy birth. For this reason, other than red meat, legumes, poultry products, and cereals doctors may recommend additional iron medications for the ingestion of iron. Consuming vegetables and fruits containing vitamin C during the day facilitates the absorption of iron taken into the body.
NOTE: Tea and coffee consumption causes anemia.
Nausea: Nausea, which is mostly seen in the early stages of pregnancy, is caused by the hormonal changes and particularly the increase in estrogen. In some pregnancies, nausea causes vomiting, and water loss may occur in the body. This nausea can be alleviated by a few nutritional changes.
As the sensitivity to odors will increase, pregnant women should not be present in places where food smells are present. Crackers, toasted bread, and dry cereals should be consumed before getting out of bed in the morning. In this way, the acid level of the stomach can be reduced. Throughout the day, small amounts of nutrients should be consumed frequently.
Bone tissue damage: Insufficient calcium and phosphorus intake during pregnancy and insufficient utilization of sunlight for vitamin D production cause the malacia and loss of bone tissue in the mother.
Toxemia of pregnancy: Hypertension during the late pregnancy period may lead to protein loss through the urine. This occurs with the presence of edema in the hands and feet. If the mother’s blood circulation is not good, this will negatively affect the blood circulation of the fetus and in this case, the fetus cannot feed enough. Protein loss through urine and hypertension during the pregnancy occur frequently in pregnant women with kidney or heart disease, diabetic diseases and over 35 years of age.
Constipation: Hormonal changes during pregnancy lead to a slowing of the bowel muscles and movements. Then, the constipation problem occurs in this case. Constipation can be minimized by several changes in nutrition. Vegetable, fruit and cereal products should be consumed. Legumes should be consumed twice a week. Daily liquid consumption should be increased. Regular exercises should be done. Walking, physical activities and swimming are the most effective exercises.
SOURCE: Gebelik ve Emziklilik Döneminde Beslenme.Temel Sağlık Hizmetleri Genel Müdürlüğü. 2008.