Medical Discussions on Pregnancy Life Stage

Running head: PREGNANCY LIFE STAGE Pregnancy Life Stage 1.

Does nutrition status affect fertility? Good overall nutrition, rather than eating any specific food, greatly improve your chances of conceiving a child. For women, nutrient deficiencies and low-calorie diets at one extreme, and obesity at the other can disrupt ovulation. Poor nutrition can also have an impact on male fertility. In order to get pregnant, doctors recommend that both women and men eat healthy, exercise and keep a positive mental attitude to increase chances of fertilization.

Eating healthy, exercise and keeping a positive mental attitude is equally important during pregnancy and after pregnancy. According to, “carrying a baby for nine months and then providing it with breast milk afterward is a major nutritional stress on a woman”s body. Food intake increases only 15-20%, but requirements for specific nutrients such as folic acid, zinc, and certain B vitamins may increase by 30-100%.” In addition, less than optimal nutrition can result in low-birth-weight babies with an increased risk of heart disease and non-insulin-dependent diabetes as adults. ( Both over-eating and under-eating can adversely affect the qualities and quantities of breast milk, which is explained further under Dietary Requirements During Pregnancy. During pregnancy, nutrients are passed from mother to fetus through the placenta, and after birth, through breast-milk.

The main vitamins and nutrients needed by the mother and fetus are explained in the chart below:

Nutrient/Vitamin Amount Needed Benefit Source.

Protein Need for pregnant women is increased by 10 to 15 grams daily (1 glass of milk contains 8 grams of protein). Forms structural basis for all new cells and tissues for both the mother and fetus

(Texas Department of Health).

Carbohydrates 50-100 g/daily Prevents ketosis, which, during pregnancy, can cause brain damage to the fetus.  Pregnancy Life Stage.

Nutrient/Vitamin Amount Needed Benefit Source.

Folate 400-800 micrograms daily Prevent anemia during pregnancy, may prevent miscarriage, preserves the integrity of the genetic material, and lowers risk of neural tube defects like Spina-Bifida

Calcium 1000-1500 mg/daily Milk production and growing bones

Iron 30 mg beginning 12th week of pregnancy Binds oxygen to hemoglobin and prevent iron-deficiency anemia “Nutrition During Pregnancy”, National Academy of Sciences.

Vitamin D Adequate sun exposure or 10 mg/daily for complete vegetarians and 5 mg/daily for a woman who doesn’t eat vitamin D-fortified foods (dairy products) Promotes fetal growth, bone formation, tooth enamel formation and the proper utilization of calcium

Vitamin B-6 2-5 mg/day during 1st & 2nd trimester, not to exceed 20 mg/day in the last trimester; higher doses may shut off milk production Manufacture of hormones, hemoglobin, neurotransmitters, many enzymes, and amino acids.

Vitamin E 200 IU Decreases risk of premature babies and low-birth-weight infants and may lower the risk of miscarriage.

Vitamin A Follow the RDA of 2700 IU daily Provides baby with vitamin A reserves and sustains adequate breast-mil concentrations.

Zinc 10-30 mg daily is sufficient and considered safe; excessive intake of zinc can lower HDL-cholesterol. Reduces risk of miscarriage, labor complications, neural tube defects and low-birth babies

Food plays a major role in promoting a healthy life. However, during the pregnancy cycle, nutrition is of even greater importance because of the effects on both the mother and baby. Many people have said that a pregnant mother is eating for two, which in fact is correct. The mother needs a certain amount of protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, water and fiber in the diet each day.

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