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How to get adequate nutrition during pregnancy and breastfeeding

Team AckoApr 6, 2023

Pregnancy and breastfeeding are two of the most important times for a woman to ensure she is taking in enough nutrition for herself and her baby. During these periods, adequate nutrition is especially essential for giving the baby the best start in life and for ensuring the mother’s health. In this article, we outline how to make sure you are getting enough nutrition during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Nutrition for Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Contents

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Importance of Nutrition During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Pregnancy and breastfeeding periods are important times in the development of a baby and a mother’s health. During pregnancy, a baby is developing rapidly and gaining weight, and nutrients from the mother’s diet play an important role in this process. For example, women need more folic acid, vitamin D, calcium, and iron during pregnancy; to ensure the baby is getting all the necessary nutrients for healthy development. Breastfeeding is even more important in terms of nutrition for the baby. A mother’s milk not only provides the baby with essential nutrients, but also helps to ensure that the baby will be healthy and well nourished. It also helps to reduce the baby’s risk of developing certain diseases later in life. 

Nutritional Goals during Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

For pregnant women, the most important nutrition goal is to get enough calories. The National Institute of Medicine recommends that pregnant women should get a minimum of 1,800 calories per day. For breastfeeding women, it is important to get enough calories to ensure that you are producing enough milk for your baby (at least 2500 calories per day). It is also important to get enough protein, which helps to support the baby’s growth. In addition, pregnant and breastfeeding women should aim to get the following:

  • Folic acid – 400 micrograms per day

  • Iron – 27 milligrams per day

  • Calcium – 1,000 milligrams per day

  • Vitamin D – 600-800 international units per day

Food Sources for Adequate Nutrition

In order to make sure you are getting enough nutrients during pregnancy and breastfeeding, it is important to focus on eating a balanced diet that includes a variety of nutritious foods. Protein is especially important for pregnant and breastfeeding women, and should account for 25-30% of your daily caloric intake. Sources of protein include lean meats, poultry, eggs, tofu, nuts, and legumes. It is also important to get enough fibre during pregnancy and breastfeeding, since fibre helps to keep your digestive system healthy. Sources of fibre include fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. In addition, sources of calcium include dairy products, leafy green vegetables, and fish, while sources of iron include meat, poultry, seafood, legumes, and fortified cereals.

Preventive Measures During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

In addition to focusing on healthy nutrition, pregnant and breastfeeding women should also take certain preventive measures to ensure their health and the health of their baby. This includes avoiding certain foods, such as certain fish and deli meats, which can contain harmful contaminants. It is also important to avoid certain activities, such as smoking and drinking alcohol, which can be detrimental to the health of both the mother and the baby.

Folic Acid Supplementation

Folic acid is especially important for pregnant women, since it helps to reduce the risk of neural tube defects in newborn babies. Folic acid can be found in a variety of food sources, including leafy green vegetables, beans, and fruits. However, pregnant women are recommended to take a folic acid supplement in order to ensure they are getting enough of this nutrient. It is generally recommended to take a supplement of 400 micrograms of folic acid per day, either in pill form or as a fortified cereal.

Iron Supplementation

Pregnant women are also recommended to take an iron supplement to ensure they are getting enough of this nutrient, since it is essential for the formation of red blood cells in the baby. Iron can be found in a variety of food sources, such as meats, poultry, and fortified cereals. However, for some women, it is still recommended to take an iron supplement in order to make sure they are getting enough of this nutrient. Supplements of between 30 and 60 milligrams per day are generally recommended for pregnant women.

Vitamin D Supplementation

Vitamin D is an important nutrient for both pregnant women and their babies. It helps to ensure that their bones and teeth are strong, and helps to reduce the risk of certain diseases, such as rickets. Vitamin D can be found in a variety of food sources, such as milk and fortified cereals. However, it is recommended that pregnant women should take a vitamin D supplement of 600-800 international units per day in order to get enough of this nutrient.

Conclusion

Getting enough nutrition during pregnancy and breastfeeding is essential for both the mother and the baby. Women should focus on getting enough calories and eating a balanced diet that includes a variety of nutritious foods. It is also important to take certain preventive measures and supplement with certain vitamins and minerals. By following the guidance above, pregnant and breastfeeding women can make sure they are getting the nutrition they need to give their baby the best start in life.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some common questions about how to get adequate nutrition during pregnancy and breastfeeding

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How many calories do pregnant women need?

It is recommended that pregnant women should get a minimum of 1,800 calories per day.

What are good sources of protein?

Good sources of protein include lean meats, poultry, eggs, tofu, nuts, and legumes.

How much folic acid should pregnant women take?

Pregnant women should take a folic acid supplement of 400 micrograms per day.

How much iron should pregnant women take?

It is recommended that pregnant women should take an iron supplement of 30-60 milligrams per day.

How much vitamin D should pregnant women take?

Pregnant women should take a vitamin D supplement of 600-800 international units per day.

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