The recommended daily dose of calcium
The recommended daily dose of calcium during pregnancy is 1,100 mg/day, with 300 mg more than in the period before pregnancy. In the third trimester of pregnancy forms of calcium transfer from mother to fetus, because now they develop and strengthen bones. If the mother is not getting enough calcium in the diet, it is extracted to the child from the mother’s skeletal system. This has a negative effect on bone health of women in the coming years.
A low dose of calcium during pregnancy can lead to a child’s fragile bones and laborious development of his bones. In more severe cases, the child may suffer from rickets and delayed growth. Dairy products such as milk, cheese, yogurt, as well as soy milk with added calcium, are excellent sources of calcium.
Folic acid and birth
Folate is a B-group vitamin, insufficient doses during pregnancy were associated with neural tract malformations in the fetus. Administered doses of folic acid before conception and during early weeks of pregnancy can prevent seven out of 10 cases of neural tract malformations. Low doses of folic acid leads to increased risk of multiple birth, twin pregnancy.
The amount of folic acid to be administered during the nine months of pregnancy is twice that normally consumed, 400 mg/day. Dawn cereals, bakery products and fruit juices with folic acid supplementation facilitates the achievement of high doses of folic acid, without the need of another supplement. However, women with twins shows a 10 times increased risk of developing folic acid deficiency. Other food sources rich in folic acid are spinach, broccoli, asparagus, nuts, liver, oranges and avocados.
Dosages of other nutrients
Besides calcium, iron and other nutrients to be consumed during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy are: proteins (whose dose must be increased to 8 grams per day), vitamin C (dosage should be doubled to 60 mg/day), vitamin B complex: B1, B2, B3, B6 and B12 in particular (a dose increased by 30 percent), zinc (dose increased by 25 percent to 16 mg/day) and magnesium (dose increased with 10 percent).
The need for vitamin A during pregnancy
Vitamin A requirements do not change during pregnancy and vitamin A supplements are rarely recommended because they can be toxic and can cause birth defects. The best way to increase the dose of vitamin A if it is low, is to eat foods rich in this substance, such as milk, fish, eggs, margarine, vegetables and fruits, especially oranges.
In some poor countries, vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy is a major cause for blindness. In countries with a sunny climate, most women need supplements of vitamin D. Multivitamin and calcium supplements are prescribed only for certain categories of pregnant women: vegetarian, substance abuse (drugs, tobacco, alcohol), teenage girls who are not fed properly or obese women who restrict their calorie intake to avoid gaining weight.
How much food for two
It is not necessary to consume more food during pregnancy. Experts recommend that in the first trimester of pregnancy a woman’s calorie intake to remain almost unchanged from the period before pregnancy. During the second and third trimesters of pregnancy may increase calorie intake by about 10 percent, which is an extra 600 calories daily.
The dangers of a severe diet
Some women are afraid of excess weight gained during pregnancy and decide to eat sparingly to avoid accumulation of fat. Restricted or irregular diet can significantly impair the health of mother and child. It is necessary that women get some weight during pregnancy because it is a way to determine if the fetus is developing normally. If a woman is gaining very little weight during pregnancy, there may be a delay of growth and may result in underweight birth.
Birth of underweight increases the risk of complications in the first year of life, and can goes up to the child’s death. It is recommended that women gain around 9-13 kg of weight during pregnancy, according to the weight that they had before pregnancy. A woman who was slightly overweight before pregnancy is expected to take less weight than a woman who fit the normal weight.
Prenatal origins of obesity and other diseases
There are an increasing number of evidence indicating that the risk of suffering from obesity, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension or cancer as an adult is already decided at birth. If a child is born underweight or overweight, it may present an increased risk of these diseases. Breastfeeding for a longer period can help regulate the metabolism. The impact of poor nutrition received before birth can be reduced through a healthy diet and regular exercise during each stage of life.
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