Maternal Nutrition: Link Between Diet and Pregnancy

Every year, there are about 213 million pregnancies all over the world. And with each pregnancy comes the responsibility of giving birth to a healthy child. That means ensuring the expectant mother is physically and mentally well-nourished.

Unfortunately, poor diet is a significant problem for many women of childbearing age. Awareness about the link between diet and pregnancy is low. As a result, many pregnant women do not eat enough of the right foods or get the right mix of nutrients. As a result, it can have severe implications for both the mother and child.

Understanding the link between diet and pregnancy is vital to ensuring a healthy pregnancy. Here are some ways that poor diet can impact expectant mothers:

Anemia

Lack of iron in the diet is one of the leading causes of anemia during pregnancy. This condition can lead to fatigue, breathlessness, and an increased risk of infection. It can also cause the baby to be born prematurely or with low birth weight.

Pregnancy involves a lot of changes in the body, and one of these changes includes blood volume. A pregnant woman’s body needs more blood to supply oxygen and nutrients to the growing baby. Suppose there is insufficient iron in the diet. In that case, the body cannot produce enough hemoglobin or the protein in red blood cells that carry oxygen. Thus, causing a problem in meeting the demand.

So, eating foods rich in iron, such as lean red meat, dark leafy greens, and legumes, is essential. Expectant mothers should also take a prenatal vitamin containing iron as their doctor advises to ensure they meet their needs. This way, they can avoid developing anemia and other iron-related complications.

Gestational diabetes

Many women get gestational diabetes during pregnancy. This condition happens when the body cannot make enough insulin to meet the demands of pregnancy. As a result, blood sugar levels become elevated, leading to serious health problems for both mother and child.

Gestational diabetes can lead to macrosomia, a condition where the baby is larger than average. When this happens, the baby may have a higher risk of being born with shoulder dystocia. The baby’s head comes out in this birth complication, but the shoulders get stuck. Macrosomia can also increase the likelihood of cesarean delivery. So, expectant mothers need to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.

Eating a healthy diet is one of the best ways to prevent gestational diabetes. Foods that are high in fiber and low in sugar, fat, and refined carbs can help keep blood sugar levels in check. Expectant mothers should also avoid processed foods, sugary drinks, and excessive amounts of caffeine. In doing so, they can prevent complications during pregnancy and ensure a healthy baby.

a pregnant woman sitting in a dental chair about to get dental treatment

Impacted wisdom teeth

According to a survey by Dr. Z. A. Dental College, impacted wisdom teeth are more likely to occur in individuals who consume a high-processed, nutrient-poor diet. While this condition may not seem a big deal, it can cause many problems for expectant mothers.

During pregnancy, the wisdom teeth can cause problems because the increased blood flow and hormonal changes can make the gums more sensitive. Thus, it can make it difficult to eat and sleep, affecting the mother’s health. Additionally, infected wisdom teeth can lead to preterm labor and low birth weight.

Eating a healthy diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants can help keep the gums healthy and reduce the risk of impacted wisdom teeth. But what if there’s already an impacted wisdom tooth? In that case, the mother can get it removed to avoid any complications. Although it’s always best to consult a dentist or doctor first, wisdom teeth removal procedures are generally safe for pregnant women. So, there’s nothing to worry about as long as the treatment is done by a professional.

Preeclampsia

Another condition that can occur during pregnancy is preeclampsia, characterized by increased blood pressure and protein in the urine. When left untreated, preeclampsia can lead to serious health complications for both mother and child, such as organ damage, eclampsia, and even death.

You can prevent this condition by eating a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight. Foods high in magnesium, such as leafy greens, nuts, and seeds, can help lower blood pressure. Expectant mothers should also avoid caffeine, alcohol, and cigarettes. Doing so can reduce the risk of preeclampsia and other complications during pregnancy.

As you can see, a poor diet can have many implications for both the mother and child during pregnancy. While the above are only some problems that can arise, there are many others. So, expectant mothers need to be aware of nutrition’s importance and ensure they eat a healthy diet. This way, they can avoid complications during pregnancy and ensure a healthy baby.

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