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Foods Essay: Special Dietary Requirment For Pregnancy

1355 words - 5 pages

Special Dietary Requirements: Pregnancy Pregnant women must eat well and are encouraged to eat a variety of foods.Weight gain is a normal and healthy part of pregnancy, especially during the fourth weekthrough the end of pregnancy. Most women gain a normal amount of weight by eatinghealthfully, staying active, and allowing their appetite to guide food intake. Physicians usually recommend general guidelines for healthy eating. The pregnantwoman's diet should include the basic nutrients necessary to meet the demands of thedeveloping fetus. Junk food should be avoided, because it provides little more than emptycalories. For women who normally do not follow a healthy diet, pregnancy is a good timeto start. Healthy eating helps ensure that the baby will have a healthy birth weight and willnot be born with infections or other problems, reduces the risk for premature birth, buildsup fats and fluids for use during breastfeeding, and reduces the risk for complicationsduring pregnancy. It is also important that women continue to eat well after the birth,especially if the baby is breastfeeding. Pregnancy is no time to diet. Every woman is different, depending on body typeand weight before conception, but most women who deliver healthy babies gain about 25to 35 pounds or more during pregnancy. Women who are under weight prior to pregnancyshould gain a little more, and over weight women, a little less. Women who do not gain enough weight have an increased risk for deliveringbabies with low birth weight (5.52 pounds). Low birth rate is a major cause of infantmortality as well as many childhood developmental, physic, and psychological problems. Gaining too much weight can also be a problem. It can make pregnancy anunpleasant experience, causing backache, leg pain, varicose veins, and fatigue. It maylead to hypertension and diabetes. Excess weight may also be difficult to lose afterdelivery. Pregnant women should eat iron-rich foods to prevent iron deficiency. Iron richfoods include leafy greens such as spinach and broccoli, strawberries, meats, wholegrains, prune juice, dried fruit, legumes, and blackstrap molasses. Calcium is essential for maintaining the bone integrity of a pregnant woman andproviding the skeletal development of the fetus. Women should increase their intake ofcalcium-rich goods, such as milk products. Folate is essential for protein synthesis, the formation of new cells, and theproduction of new blood. It is required for pregnant woman's increasing blood supply andthe growth of both maternal and fetal tissues. Sufficient folate also decreases the risk ofneural tube defects. The recommended intake for folate increases during pregnancy from 2 mg to 4 mgper day. It is possible to meet this requirement through a well-selected diet: folate richfoods include eggs, leafy vegetables, oranges, legumes, and wheat germ. Vitamin D is necessary for the absorption...

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