Maintaining a healthy nutrition during pregnancy helps to protect the pregnant mother and her developing baby together from instant and long term health risks.
Importance of a good and healthy nutrition during pregnancy:
Poor maternal nutrition is the main factor which contributes to poor foetal development and it increases the risk that the baby born will be ill. Many research shows that maternal nutritional status during pregnancy plays a more vital role in determining fetal health
Maternal nutrition during pregnancy also seems to have a foetal programming effect and it isin which the foetus learns a good nutritional habits, which will influence it when they grow. A fetus will also familiarize its metabolism and other body systems to manage with different states of nutrition. For example, an under nourished fetus which does not obtain enough macro-nutrients or energy, responds by dropping glucose and insulin production, which eventually slows the rate of fetal growth and surges the risk of low birth weight. It may also modify the metabolism permanently and leave an individual inclined to metabolic conditions such as diabetes. The fetus also familiarizes to under nutrition by redirecting blood flow and so the supply of nutrients to protect the brain, at the expense of fully developing other organs including the kidneys, muscles and the endocrine system.
The nerves which control the fetus appetite are also programmed while it is emerging in the womb and this disturbs an individual’s appetite regulation later in life.
Women at risk of poor nutrition:
All women experience increased healthy and nutritious food during pregnancy, and thus all women should confirm they are well informed about and attempt to maintain a healthy balanced diet before and during pregnancy.
Women should also be conscious that poor nutrition results from a complex range of factors, of which nutritional intake is just one. Lifestyle habits such as smoking and drug use can bound the extent to which the body absorbs and uses nutrients and so these behaviors rise the risk of poor nutritional status during pregnancy.
Reasons for poor nutrition in pregnancy:
Women who have a bigger risk of experiencing poor nutrition during pregnancy are:
• Vegan and vegetarian women, as many micro-nutrients are mainly sourced from animal based foods;
• Women of low socioeconomic status who generally have poor nutrition and health and are more probable to give birth to a low weight infant.
• Women with health conditions like diabetes and infectious conditions which can create additional nutritional demand
• Women with multiple pregnancies like twins, triplets, etc.
• Women exposed to stress as this can rise nutrient losses and change eating patterns
• Women who smoke, eat alcohol or take illicit drugs as these can rise nutrient losses and change the eating patterns
Women who find it hard to access food should seek help from a health professional as nutrition for children is essential from birth. The people with special eating requirements may need individual nutritional advice from a nutritionist or dietician. Women who have deficiencies in specific micro nutrients may also need nutritional supplements during pregnancy.