Maternal Nutrition – Mother And Infant

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Maternal Nutrition

After 2-3 months, a maternal nutritional deficit can impede fetal growth, causing a small for gestational age infant or a small brain growth infant. Maternal nutrition plays a significant role in fetal well being as well as in the privation and treatment of high-risk pregnancy. A 25 % deficit in needed calories and protein can interfere with the synthesis of DNA. As a result during the first  2-3 months of pregnancy, a deficit in nutrients can have the teratogenic effect or lead to a spontaneous loss.

Specific maternal nutritional deficiencies can have deleterious effects on the fetus.

Protein, 75 – 100 g daily is important in supporting embryonic – fetal cell growth, in promoting the necessary increase in maternal blood volume and possibly in facilitating prevention of pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH).

To prevent maternal anemia which affects oxygenation and neonatal RBCs mass,  and adequate maternal intake of iron-folic acid, vit.B12 is needed. supplemental iron of at least 300 mg in maternal stores is necessary for the fetus to draw upon.

During pregnancy, the diet should contain 30-50mg of zinc each day.
Zinc is found in foods such as nuts, meats, whole grain, and legumes. A deficiency of zinc during pregnancy increases the risk of premature rupture of membranes and preterm labor. This may be the result of a related deficiency in the antimicrobial properties of amniotic fluid as well.

To meet the growing needs of the fetus, for maternal storage of fat and protein, there should be an increase of 300-500 calories/day above normal caloric requirements.
Social habits such as alcohol intake, smoking, and drug abuse will interfere with the adequate absorption of nutrients in the fetus and mother.


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