Nutrition and Pregnancy

Nutrition and Pregnancy .Theme: Nutrition and Pregnancy: Dietary requirements, in
terms of calories and food, of the pregnant woman and recommended food. Food that
should be avoided during the pregnancy. Design one day menu (breakfast, lunch, dinner
and any snack) that will you recommend to a female patient that is 32 week pregnant. This
paper should be presented in APA style. Total of pages; 6 pages including front and
reference. References: at least 5 reference, with a maximum of 2 web references.

Nutrition and Pregnancy

Health and nutrition are important aspects of human life during pregnancy, not only to
the mother, but also to the developing baby. Intake of right amount of required calories and
nutrients, as well as close monitoring of weight gain; can greatly reduce labor pains and speed up
the healing process after delivery. During pregnancy, the calorie and nutrient requirement of
mothers increase, to supply the food needed for the growth of the baby (American Congress of
Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 2010). It is therefore important to eat the right meals, and avoid
ones that might be harmful to the baby. This paper discusses the calorie and nutritional
requirements of a pregnant woman, as well as the various kinds of foods which should be

Dietary Requirements during Pregnancy

Eating a balanced diet is important during pregnancy. Though this period require
increased calorie intake, the foods that are consumed must be closely monitored. This will help
foster a healthy development progress of the infant in the womb. The calorie requirements
increase with each trimester. In the first trimester, a pregnant woman may require about 1800

calories per day, while on the third trimester; the value may increase to 2400 calories (Riley,
2006). Macronutrients are important for provision of this required calories pay day, and they
include: carbohydrates, fats and proteins, and other organic substances. Additionally,
micronutrients also form an important segment of the diet, including vitamins and minerals.
They support the growth of tissues and cells; and prevent occurrence of diseases.
In details, various foods which are needed and highly recommended during pregnancy
include a long list of healthy nationals. For instance, dark green leafy vegetables are applauded
as the most nutritious of all foods. According to the Center for Young Women’s Health, they are
a rich source of essential minerals and vitamins, including Vitamins A, C, and K; iron, folate and
calcium as minerals (Brown, 2005). Foods under this category include spinach, broccoli, mustard
greens, kale, collard greens, and arugula. Iron derived from these vegetables can prevent
instances of preterm birth, while folate prevents birth defects of the spinal cord and the brain, as
well as cancer and stroke.
Oranges and grapefruits are also recommended during pregnancy. They contain
substantial amounts of vitamin C and folic acid, where the former is useful for maintenance of
healthy tissues and healthy immune system of the baby and the mother (Murkoff & Mazel,
2008). It is also responsible for secretion of collagen, the structural protein for tendons, cartilage,
skin and bones, which are needed for a healthy development (American Congress of
Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 2010). The daily intake of vitamin C for pregnant women
should be 85 mg. In addition, protein intake should also be enhanced, given the rapid
development of the body during pregnancy. As a building block of amino acids, it is important as
a precursor of cells. One should aim at three servings of protein, making up to 75 grams, which

should be spread evenly throughout the day (Riley, 2006). Foods rich in protein include eggs,
cheese omelet, fish, whole grain cereals, yogurt, meat, legumes and soy among others.
Foods rich in calcium also form an important part of a pregnant woman’s diet. Calcium is
important for strong bone and teeth development of the infant, and helps the mother stay
stronger, avoiding falling prey to osteoporosis (Roizen & Mehmet, 2009). In the third trimester,
the need for calcium increases, since bone and teeth development takes place at this time. Milk,
yoghurt, cheese, calcium-fortified juice, salmon salad and fish are important sources of calcium
(Brown, 2005). Moreover, whole grains gain an increased importance at this crucial time. Bread,
pasta, cereals like corn, rice, oats, rye, barley, and quinoa among others are whole grains which
have abundant sources of energy, fats, vitamins and minerals. They also combat nausea and
prevent constipation.
Iron-rich foods are essential requirements during pregnancy, since the element is
important for blood manufacture, as it forms the largest part of the hemoglobin (Roizen &
Mehmet, 2009). The baby and the mother need increased blood supply, necessitating the craving
for iron in the diet. Foods like spinach, soy, beef, blackstrap molasses and dried fruits are some
of the best sources of iron. A daily intake of about 30-40 mg above the content of prenatal
supplement is required to avoid future occurrence of anemia (Riley, 2006). Moreover, essential
fatty acids must be supplied into the diet, since their foster proper eye and brain development, for
instance, Omega-3 fatty acid. However, not more than 30% of the calorie intake should come
from fats (American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 2010). Vegetables,
mayonnaise, pasta, omelet, butter and meat products are sources of fat. Salty foods should not
exceed 2400 mg of daily intake, but moderate volumes are important for fluid retention in the
body during pregnancy.

Above all, the body of a pregnant woman needs a lot of fluids. Water becomes an
essential component of diet in this respect. Water is important for building body cells, excreting
wastes, and delivering nutrients. About 8 glasses should be consumed per day, combined with
other fluids like milk, juices, soups, and other drinks (Brown, 2005). Watching one’s calorie
intake and diet is a crucial concept that must not be overlooked during pregnancy, as the
development of the baby as well as the well-being of the mother rely heavily on what is eaten.

Foods that should not be eaten during Pregnancy

Though it has been mentioned and proved that a well-balanced meal is important for an
expectant mother, there are foods that are not safe for consumption during this period. For
instance, raw meat is undesirable, especially uncooked seafood and beef, or even poultry should
be avoided, since they stand a high risk of being contaminated with bacteria, salmonella and
toxoplasmosis. In addition, deli meat should also be avoided since they are believed to be
contaminated with Listera, which can prompt a miscarriage. It is among the rare substances that
are allowed entry in the placenta, and can lead to blood poisoning or infection to the baby. Fish
which contains mercury in high levels is undesirable, as mercury consumption during pregnancy
has been linked to brain damage and development delays (Riley, 2006). They include shark, king
mackerel, tilefish and swordfish.
Refrigerated, smoked seafood, should also be avoid, especially those labeled nova, lox,
kippered, style or jerky must not be included in a mother’s diet as they contain Listeria.this
applies to fish exposed to industrial pollutants, like those from contaminated lakes, and rivers.
These may have been exposed to high doses of polychlorinated biphenyls, which is not good for
health (Brown, 2005). Some of the fish falling in this category include salmon, pike, trout,
bluefish and walleye. As some people are fond, raw eggs have gotten some space in our diets.

During pregnancy, they should be avoided as they are potential harbors of salmonella. The same
goes to unpasteurized milk, soft cheeses and pate.
Caffeine has attracted a wide array of discussions, but several researchers support that its
intake during pregnancy is unwelcome, as it has close correlation with miscarriages. As a
diuretic, it triggers loss of water from the body, which may leach out calcium and essential water
loss. It is also associated with low birth weight, premature/preterm birth, and withdrawal
symptoms among infants (Murkoff & Mazel, 2008). Alcohol is another drug that is not
acceptable during pregnancy. Prenatal alcohol consumption interferes with normal and healthy
development of the infant. It can lead to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome as well (Murkoff & Mazel,
Finally, liver or liver products, for example, liver sausage and liver pate should also be
avoided during pregnancy, as they contain high amounts of vitamin A. Excessive amounts of
vitamin A can be harmful to the baby, thus one must restrain from any supplements of vitamin
A. Others include ice cream, eggnog, uncooked or raw sprouts like alfalfa, mung bean, clover
and radish; salads, and unpasteurized juices (Brown, 2005). These pose risks of bacterial

One Day Menu for a 32-Week Pregnant Patient

At the 32 nd week of pregnancy, a weight gain of about 1-2 lbs. per week is expected.
Being the third and last trimester, bone and teeth development also takes shape, thus requiring
higher calcium levels, and a calorie intake of 300 more than a non-pregnant woman. The table
below shows a typical one day menu for a 32-week pregnant woman.
Breakfast ½ cup skim milk One serving of Whole

wheat bread

2 pieces of



Lunch ¼ chicken salad

One serving of Whole
wheat bread

One serving
of Dark green

Dinner One serving of fish/
lean beef cut

A plate of whole grain

I cup of

Snacks 1 cup of lemon juice A few counts of non-
dietary biscuits

A bottle of

5-oz glasses
of water



American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2010). Nutrition During Pregnancy.

Riley, L. (2006). Pregnancy: The Ultimate Week-by-Week Pregnancy Guide. Meredith Books.
pp. 21–22.
Brown, J. E. (2005). Nutrition Through the Life Cycle. Wodrsworth Publishing.
Murkoff, H. & Mazel, S. (2008). What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Workman publishing
Roizen, M. & Mehmet O. (2009). You: Having a Baby. Publisher: Free Press.

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