The Pregnancy Life Stage

Running head: PREGNANCY LIFE STAGE Pregnancy Life Stage 1
Pregnancy Life Stage
University of Phoenix
July 25, 2000
Melissa Dolewa
Pregnancy Life Stage
Does nutrition status affect fertility? Good overall nutrition, rather than eating any specific food, greatly improves 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 are 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 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 mother and fetus is 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 Prevents anemia during pregnancy, may prevent miscarriage, preserves the integrity of genetic material, and lowers risk of neural tube defects like spina-bifuda
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 woman who don'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.
Pregnancy Life Stage
One suggested food plan, developed by, suggests that during the first 2 to 3 months of pregnancy, a woman should try eating small amounts frequently throughout the day to keep the energy higher. If the mother only eats larger amounts of food less frequently, she may experience discomfort due to her energy levels reaching highs and lows. The food plan also recommends that the mother eat raw vegetables, fruits, juices, milk, breads and cereals in between meals as a way to keep the metabolic rate and energy steady.
Each food group has recommended or suggested serving amounts for a pregnant woman. An outline of the serving amounts for each food group is as follows:
The Five Food Groups Suggested Number of Servings
Fruits and vegetables 4 or more
Milk and dairy products 4
Meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dried