Importance of diet in pregnancy

  • Proper diet is essential to maintain the health of the mother and the fetus during pregnancy
  • Pregnancy has a total energy expenditure of 60000 kcal over and above the normal requirement
  • A lactating woman requires and additional 550 kcal per day
  • Average weight gain in a normal healthy pregnancy is about 12kg
  • Studies indicate that the weight gain in poor women in India averaged 6.5 kg
  • Maternal weight gain in pregnancy is directly related to the birth weight of the baby and the risk of infections and other complications in the infant
  • Another important factor is adequate supplementation of iron and folic acid
  • Maternal anemia can result in complications like intrauterine growth retardation and post partum haemorrhage
  • It also results in inadequate iron stores in the infant which may predispose to anemia in the neonatal period even if the haemoglobin levels at birth were normal
  • Hence it is very important to provide diet adequate in calories and nutrients during pregnancy

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