Nutrition and Pregnancy
Maintaining a healthy balanced diet is important for maintaining optimal health throughout life. For women of childbearing age, good nutrition is important for preparing the body for the demands of pregnancy.
It is a proven fact that the nutritional status of women when becoming pregnant and during pregnancy can have significant influence on both fetal, infant and maternal health outcomes. Micronutrient deficiencies such as calcium, iron, vitamin A and iodine can lead to poor maternal health outcomes and pregnancy complications which put the mother and baby at risk. Poor maternal weight gain in pregnancy due to an inadequate diet, increases the risk of premature delivery, low birthweight and birth defects. (“WHO | Nutrition Counselling During Pregnancy”)
It is important to know which foods and what quantities are essential for achieving optimal dietary intake. Emerging evidence now suggests that use of micronutrient- containing prenatal vitamins before and during pregnancy is associated with reductions in the risk of congenital defects, preterm delivery, low infant birth weight, and preeclampsia.(Scholl, 2008)
Prenatal vitamins contain many vitamins and minerals. Their folic acid, iron, iodine, and calcium are especially important.