Importance of Women’s Wellness during Pregnancy

The human body requires a continuous supply of nutrients. These nutrients are utilized by the body to maintain health. The gestation period is a rapid growth period. Growth of foetus & other developments that take place to facilitate its maintenance throughout pregnancy & delivery of the child involve an increase in the nutritional requirement of the pregnant women. The nutritional requirements of a pregnant woman can be attributed to:

  • Rapid growth of foetus
  • Development of the placenta
  • Enlargement of maternal tissues namely the breast & uterine tissues
  • Increase in maternal circulating blood volume
  • Formation of amniotic fluid
  • Storage reserves
  • Mineralization of the skeletal & bone structure of the foetus as well as tooth buds.

To meet the additional requirement, foods which supply all the nutrients in greater amount to sustain & support the pregnancy must be consumed by the pregnant woman.

Nutrition during Pregnancy and Lactation: - Recommended Nutritional intake

Nutritional requirements increase tremendously during pregnancy and lactation as the pregnant lady or nursing mother not only has to nourish herself but also growing foetus and the infant who is going to be breast fed.

Pregnancy is a period of great physiological stress for the woman as she is nurturing a growing foetus in her body. Some changes occur in the mother’s body which influences the need for nutrients and the efficacy with which the mother’s body uses the nutrients.

  1. Increased basal metabolic rate (BMR): Foetal growth and development increases the BMR by 5% during 1st and 12% during the 2nd and 3rd This increases the total energy requirement.
  2. Gastrointestinal changes: There is an alteration in GI functions which causes nausea, constipation and vomiting. In the later trimester of pregnancy the absorption of nutrients like vitamin B12, iron and calcium increases in order to meet the increased needs of the mother and the foetus.
  3. Changes in the body fluid: Mother’s blood volume increases so as to carry the appropriate amount of nutrients to the foetus and metabolic waste away from the foetus. With increase in the blood volume, the concentration of the plasma proteins, hemoglobin and other blood constituents is lowered.

Mother has to nurture the foetus, health of the new born depends on nutritional status of the mother during a prior to conception. A well-nourished mother prior to conception enters pregnancy with reserve of several nutrients that meets the needs of the growing foetus without affecting her own health. A well nourished woman suffers fewer complications during pregnancy and there are few chances of pre-mature births. A well-nourished mother will give birth to a healthy child. Maternal diet during pregnancy has a direct influence on the foetal growth, size and health of the new born. Poor diet during pregnancy affects mother’s health, a malnourished mother provides nutrients to the foetus at the expense of her own tissues. Poor nutrition during pregnancy increases the risk of complications such as prolonged labour and even death. Inadequate diet during pregnancy affects the health of the baby during early infancy. If the infants survive, their developmental diseases  like anemia, rickets, etc or suffer from infectious diseases due to lack of good immunity.

During pregnancy the nutrient needs increased to develop maternal organs such as uterus, placenta, and breast tissues. Additional nutrients are also required to build up body reserves to be utilized at the time of delivery and lactation. During the 1st trimester there is no significant increase in the nutrient intakes while the nutrients are significantly increased during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters.

Other Vitamins and Minerals requirements also increase during pregnancy and lactation. These are indicated in the below table:

Minerals Pregnancy Lactation
0 – 6 month of infant age 7 – 12 months of infant age
Vitamin A (µg) 800 950
Thiamine(Vitamin B1) (mg) 0.2 0.3 0.2
Riboflavin(Vitamin B2) (mg) 0.3 0.4 0.3
Niacine(Vitamin B3) (mg) 14 16 15
Pyridoxine(Vitamin B5) (mg) 2.5 2.5 2.5
Ascorbic Acid(Vitamin C) (mg) 60 80 80
Folic Acid(Vitamin B9) (µg) 500 300 300
Cynacobalamine(Vitamin B12) 1.2 1.5 1.5
Magnesium (mg) 310 310 310
Zinc (mg) 12 12 12

Additional energy (+350 kcal per day) is required for the growth of foetus, development of placental and maternal tissues, for increased metabolic rate, deposit fat that shall be required during lactation.

During pregnancy, additional protein (27.5 g per day) is required for the growth of foetus, development of placenta, enlargement of maternal tissues, increased maternal blood volume, formation of amniotic fluid. Protein reserves prepare the mother for labour, delivery and lactation. Good quality of protein should be consumed during pregnancy.

During lactation protein requirement increases by approximately 20 g per day

Iron requirement increases to 35 and 25 g per day for pregnant and lactating women, respectively. They are required for expansion of the maternal tissues including red blood cell mass, placental growth, building iron stores in foetal liver and to compensate blood loss during delivery.

Additional calcium (+ 600 g per day) is required for the growth and development of bones of the foetus. Proper Calcium intake decreases the risk of hypertension and pre-eclampsia in mothers and low birth weight in new born. Calcium is required for maintaining bone strength and proper muscle contractions. In case the calcium intake during pregnancy is limited then calcium is mobilized from the maternal stores to meet the foetal requirements. Thus, calcium supplementation is important during pregnancy as well as lactation.

Diet in pregnancy

Eating Right

Pregnancy is one of the most exciting time in a woman’s life. Yet, being pregnant is a worry ­filled time too. To be certain you’ve done everything right and to make sure that your baby gets a healthy start, it is imperative to know about what you should eat and how much weight you should gain.

Nutrients are divided between you and your growing baby. Sustenance for your child comes from nutrients stored in your bones and tissues. In the past, it was believed that a developing foetus took all the nourishment it needed from the mother, regardless of her diet. This myth maintained that if a woman’s diet was deficient in something, it did not matter because the baby could simply siphon the nutrient from the reserves of mother. Now experts believe that it is the growing baby who is affected most if the woman’s diet lacks adequate nutrients.

Only a well-nourished woman is in a position to optimally nourish a foetus. For optimal foetal growth, diet during pregnancy must meet the needs of both the mother and the foetus.

Weight Gain

A woman should approximately put on 7 to 12 kilograms during her pregnancy. Ideal weight gain is dependent on pre-conception weight. i.e. if mother is obese minimum weight gain is expected and vice versa. Normally the weight gain goes like this:

0 to 14 weeks – no gain
14 to 20 weeks – 3 kilograms
20 to 30 weeks – 5 kilograms
30 to 36 weeks – 3 kilograms
36 to 40 weeks – no gain

Food groups required –

These proportions are on a daily basis:

  • cereals like chapatis / bhakari / unpolished rice: medium to large helpings
  • Vegetables: large helpings
  • Fruits: about two to three types (seasonal)
  • Milk, curd, paneer and cheese: two to three servings
  • Meat: To be avoided
  • Fats, oils, and sweets: Moderation

Calorie Requirement

No two women have the same need for calories. That is because caloric need during pregnancy is based on an individual’s physical activity level, current weight, muscle and fat mass, metabolic rate, and the stage of pregnancy. That makes it impossible to state with certainty a specific number of additional calories needed by individual pregnant women. The best way to judge the adequacy of caloric intake is by assessing weight gain.

Protein Intake

Protein is an important ingredient of every diet chart, more so during pregnancy. Some vegetarian sources of protein are nuts and seeds, milk and other dairy products, pulses, soya products etc

Other Key Nutrients

FLUIDS: Water, Fruit juices, Coconut water, Vegetable soups, Dal soups, Porridges etc.  The intake of water will increase or decrease as per the seasonal changes / loss of the water from the body.

GRAINS: Rice, Wheat, Jowar, Bajra, Rajgeera, Ragi (Nachni). Try to incorporate more than one variety in the diet.

VEGETABLES: Leafy / Beans / Gourds / Root Vegetables / Other eg. Cauliflower, Bhendi, Tendli etc. Minimum one vegetable has to be included from each group per day / alternately.

FRUITS: All seasonal fruits have to be consumed, unless and until allergic to any specific fruit. Consume fruits in between the meals rather than with the meals.

CALCIUM / PROTEIN GROUP: Milk and its products, all kinds of dals and pulses in the sprouted form

FATS AND SUGARS: Prefer better form of theses food groups like nuts, dry fruits, honey and jiggery etc. Excess intake should be avoided.

Lactation:

The greatest feeling and precious time of the woman’s life, is nothing but breast feeding her baby! This is the time of immense pleasure for the mother as well as the baby, as it not only nourishes the baby physically, but emotionally as well. Let’s see the important aspects to be considered while feeding the baby.

  • Breast milk is the best foundation of the baby’s future healthy life.
  • Breast milk is safe and clean (sterile).
  • Bowel upsets are less common in infants who are breast fed.
  • Put the baby to the breast as soon as possible after delivery.
  • Breast milk of first 2-3 days is yellowish in colour and is known as colostrum. It is rich in antibodies which protects the infant from infectious diseases.
  • Breast feeding is a happy experience for both mother and the infant giving them emotional satisfaction.
  • Give breast feeding at regular intervals.
  • Breast feeding promotes contraction of uterus and hastens its return to original size and position.

Tips for breast feeding mother:

  • Eat a balanced diet.
  • Avoid drastic weight loss diets. Lose weight gradually under proper dietary guidance.
  • Avoid consumption of excess caffeine, tea, soft drinks, trans fats and junk foods.
  • Mother should preferably sit or lie comfortably.
  • Hold and cuddle the baby.
  • Feed the baby on demand. Let the baby decide when to finish. Follow the baby’s cues.
  • Let the baby finish the first breast before you offer the second.

ROLE OF PROTEIN DURING PREGNANCY

Gestation period is a rapid growth period. Growth of the foetus & other developments that take place to facilitate its maintenance throughout pregnancy & delivery of the child involve an increase in the nutritional requirements of the pregnant woman.

Nutritional requirement increases due to

  • Rapid growth of foetus
  • Placenta development
  • Enlargement of maternal tissues
  • Storage reserves
  • Increase in maternal circulating blood volume
  • Formation of amniotic fluid
  • Mineralization of the skeletal & bone structure of the foetus

Requirement of protein during pregnancy increases by 14g/day.

E.g.: if the woman is taking 45g of protein per day, then her requirement during pregnancy will increase to 59g/day (45g+14g=59g)

Requirement of protein during pregnancy increases by 14g/day.

E.g.: if the woman is taking 45g of protein per day, then her requirement during pregnancy will increase to 70g/day (45g+25g=70g)

Role of DHA during pregnancy

Role of DHA during pregnancy

DHA is a predominant component of the brain that is required for foetal brain and visual development. DHA supplementation in mother increases the mental performance of their children as well as the duration of gestation and birth weights during pregnancy.

Our products thus, significantly take care of providing optimum supplementation to the mother & growing foetus. Our Products take total Care to treat the mother to fight diabetes during gestation by making it a “zero sucrose (sugar)” product. In concern with the resistance to gluten, the product has been developed “gluten free” fortified with various vitamins & minerals.

Role of Vit D & Calcium during pregnancy

Role of Vit D & Calcium during pregnancy:

All the vitamins, especially vitamin A, B complex, C and D, and Folic acid are required in increased doses during pregnancy.

Vitamin D deficiency was thought to have been conquered, but it is now recognized that more than 50% of the world’s population is at risk for vitamin D deficiency. This deficiency is in part due to the inadequate fortification of foods with vitamin D and the misconception that a healthy diet contains an adequate amount of vitamin D.

During Pregnancy, the need for calcium & phosphorous increases, hence the requirement of vitamin D cannot be overlooked as it is involved in their absorption & utilization. These micronutrients are required in smaller quantities, especially as it:

  • Helps in building strong foundation – skeletal growth of foetus
  • Helps in Neurodevelopment of foetus
  • Reduces chances of Low birth babies and premature babies
  • Decreases the risk of development of Insulin Resistance
  • Reduces chances of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus, pre-eclamcia, eclamcia

Greatly reduces risk of future complications like Hypertension or CV.

Maternal Anemia

Maternal Anemia

Anaemia in expectant women is a serious world-wide public health problem with adverse pregnancy outcomes. It remains one of the India’s major public health irrespective of the fact that it is preventable and easily treatable.

 Anaemia may also develop if the diet does not provide enough iron, protein, vitamins and minerals needed in the production of haemoglobin and the formation of erythrocytes.

Anaemia is primarily responsible for 20% maternal deaths and is an associated cause in another 20%. Prevalence of anaemia in India as per WHO is in the range of 33-89% and is different in different regions of the country. 19% maternal deaths are due to anaemia in India

Importance of Iron & Folic Acid during pregnancy & maternal anemia:

iron

It is estimated that more than 40% of pregnant women worldwide are anaemic. At least half of this anaemia burden is assumed to be due to iron deficiency.

Pregnant women require additional iron and folic acid to meet their own nutritional needs as well as those of the developing foetus. Deficiencies in iron and folic acid during pregnancy can potentially negatively impact the health of the mother, her pregnancy, as well as foetal development.

Iron requirements increase to 35 and 25 g per day for pregnant and lactating women, respectively. These are required for the expansion of the maternal tissues including red blood cell mass, placental growth, building iron stores in foetal liver and to compensate blood loss during delivery.

Evidence has shown that the use of iron and folic acid supplements is associated with a reduced risk of iron deficiency and anaemia in pregnant women.

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