Proper nutrient intake in the form of proper balanced diet is very essential when it comes to pregnancy. These are the crucial days when mother will be feeding its fetus in her womb nutrients and thus she should make sure that everything she consumes is in right amount and properly balanced.
Nutrition before conceiving:-
Before, during and after pregnancy, proper dietary planning should be done. At conception itself, nutrition of the fetus starts. In fact, several weeks before a lady conceives, she should concentrate well on her nutrition. If a lady is suffering from any sort of nutrient deficiency then she may pass that too her child and this may cause a hindrance in his/her development. What mother eats will have a long lasting effect on growth and development of her child.
It is better that before conceiving all the nutrients taken are as per recommended daily allowance to avoid excessive or under intake. Prenatal use of iron prevents the risk of lower birth weight of child. Folic acid helps to prevent spina bifida and other sorts of development abnormalities associated with neural tube. Usually during pregnancy iodine deficiency develops which can affect child's mental health as well as can cause thyroid abnormalities. Thus, right before conceiving child, mother should make sure that she takes iodine supplements or iodine rich salt in her diet. Also, Vitamin D and Vitamin B12 supplementation along with other other vitamins and minerals essential should be taken to avoid any sort of deficiency.
Nutrition during pregnancy:-
Placenta is not formed in the early weeks of pregnancy and hence fetus is directly affected from all sorts of deficiency present in mother's body and thus this is the phase when extra care should be taken to avoid any such nutritional deficiency. Foods which are rich in protein, folic acid and other vitamins should be consumed. A balanced diet which is complete should be consumed by mothers. A daily supplement of multivitamin makes sure that baby does not get devoid of any sort of vitamin present in mother's blood circulation.
Pregnancy is related with increase in weight and most of the weight is water and thus key to being healthy is remaining hydrated. Fetus is 70-90% made up of water and thus during pregnancy one cannot take risk of remaining in the state of dehydration which severely affect both state of fetus as well as of mother. During pregnancy water intake should be increased from 2,300 ml to 2,600 ml.
Nutrition after pregnancy:-
After pregnancy is a state where body of mother recovers and thus again proper diet ensuring good nutrition along with iron supplements ensures good recovery which also increases milk essential for lactating mothers. Also, lactating mothers should increase their water intake and should be able to drink at least 3,000 ml in a day as breast milk is made up of water.
Deficiency of certain nutrients causing harmful effects:-
* Folic acid deficiency result in neural tube defects and spina bifida.
* Iodine deficiency result in thyroid abnormalities.
* Vitamin D deficiency can cause weak bones due to rickets.
Harmful effects of smoking, alcohol, drugs and caffeine during pregnancy:-
Smoking can result in premature birth of babies, injury to fetus and also there is risk that babies which are born to mothers who smoke excessively will show low body weight during birth. There is chance of miscarriage. Also, smoking retards growth of babies.
Alcohol consumption during pregnancy can result in development of fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) which affects both physical and mental health of fetus resulting in formation of developmental anomalies like cleft palate, intellectual disabilities of some sort, heart defects etc..... Drinking during first trimester of pregnancy is particularly very dangerous.
We often take medicines without prescription and this can be highly dangerous during pregnancy. Aspirin is one such drug if taken in high dose during pregnancy and it can result in excessive bleeding whereas high doses of Vitamin A is usually associated with development of birth defects. Tranquilizers on the other hand are responsible for causing cleft palate or cleft lip.
Caffeine is not that harmful if taken 2 to 3 servings in a day but should be avoided in large quantity.