By: Victoria Plyler

Nutrition Needs During Pregnancy/Lactation

The diet during pregnancy affects a mother and the fetus. Good nutrition is important because the mother nourishes the fetus through her body. Nutrients for the fetus may be taken from the mothers tissue. Teen mothers need high contents of nutrients to support the growth. Deficiencies could affect the mothers development along with her baby. Some doctors recommend that pregnant women take a prenatal vitamin and mineral supplement along with their healthy meal. Important nutrients for the baby are iron and folate.

Example of a Meal You Should Eat During Pregnancy/ Lactation:

Special Needs During Pregnancy

One key nutritional need in the first trimester or the three month period of pregnancy is the need for folate. Folate can prevent neural tube (spinal cord/brain) damage in the fetus. The RDA for folate should be met everyday for pregnant women. Women should consume about 400 micrograms of folic acid daily from supplements and fortified foods. When the pregnancy is consumed, 600 micrograms of folate should be consumed a day. In the second trimester, needs for essential nutrients increase. Protein, Calcium, and iron are very important during pregnancy. Protein should be increased a lot to help growth of the fetus. Calcium is needed for strong bones and teeth. Iron is important for the baby to build iron reserves before it is born.

Diet During Pregnancy

Pregnant women should consist their diet around the Food Guide Pyramid. If you add two servings from the grains group, one serving of fruit, and one serving of vegetables you can consume many nutrients. You should also limit or avoid foods with lots of fats, oil, and sweets. Fish are also a good source of fatty acid that help with brain development of the baby. Foods with linked illness should also be avoided like undercooked egg dishes, soft cheeses, brie, and blue veined cheeses. Foods to avoid also may include hot dogs, cold cuts, and sausages unless they are heated till steamed. Too many vitamins and minerals can also cause problems in developing babies.

Diet During Lactation

During lactation the need for energy, protein, minerals, and vitamins is increased. Women need these nutrients to replace nutrients secreted in the milk. Lactating women may need more nutrients than a woman who is pregnant. Lactating women should follow the Food Guide Pyramid everyday to meet nutrition or energy needs. Along with healthy foods, they should consume about 2-3 quarts of fluid each day. They need this liquid to provide water in breast milk.

Avoiding Drugs During Lactation and Pregnancy

Drugs can cause very harmful effects on a developing fetus or nursing baby, so women should avoid them during lactation/pregnancy. All alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs should not be consumed. Drugs can pass from the mother to the fetus through the placenta (organ that nourishes the developing baby) if they are consumed. They can also pass in breast milk during lactation. It may also be a good choice to avoid prescription and over the counter medicines.