What an interesting question (especially as I?m expecting just now).
Indeed, pregnant and nursing women should follow different nutritional
guidelines than women who are neither pregnant nor nursing.
As soon as a woman discovers she?s pregnant (or, better yet, while
she?s trying to conceive) she should visit her ob/gyn to discuss
pre-natal vitamins. Some are available over the counter, but most
specialists agree that prescription vitamins are best.
A newer idea is to take two vitamins a day; all the nutritional
supplements are divided between two tablets. The woman takes one
tablet in the morning, and another in the evening. This helps her body
absorb more nutrients.
Some women (especially in their first trimester, when they tend to be
nauseous, anyway) have a hard time taking vitamins. They upset their
stomach and may make them vomit. If this is the case, the woman should
be sure to only take vitamins with a fully tummy and lots of water. In
some cases, an ob/gyn might try a different vitamin supplement, or
remove the supplements from the diet altogether.
In addition to vitamins, pregnant women are encouraged to eat a
healthy, well-balanced diet. This is basically the same diet the USDA
has been promoting for years, with a few changes:
* 6 servings of grains and cereals (which includes whole grains,
breads, pasta and rice) daily.
* 5 servings of vegetables and fruits daily.
* For protein, increase the recommended old-food pyramid guide to at
least three servings. Protein helps tissues (including the placenta)
grow. The National Academy of Science suggests a daily intake of 74
grams of protein during pregnancy.
* And for dairy, have at least four servings a day.
In addition, several servings of unsaturated fats (olive, canola,
flaxseed or fish oils) are important. On the other hand, saturated
fats (like those found in animal fat, butter, and hydrogenated oils
like margarine) should be eliminated or consumed in small quantities.
And don?t forget lots of water: At least four 8 ounce glasses a day.
(?It?s About Quality, Not Quantity,? Parenting:
and ?Nutritional Guidelines for Moms-to-Be, iVillage:
Pregnant women should add 200 to 300 calories per day during the
second and third trimesters of their pregnancy.
Vital vitamins and minerals for pregnant women are:
* Folic Acid. The Recommended Dietary Allowance is 600 g per day.
Folic acid helps prevent birth defects and should be found in all
pre-natal vitamins. It may also be found in legumes, green leafy
vegetables, citrus fruits and juices, and whole-wheat bread.
* Iron. Pregnant women should eat iron-rich foods (like lean red meat,
poultry, dried fruits, and iron fortified cereals). Foods that inhibit
iron absorption, such as whole-grain cereals, unleavened whole-grain
breads, legumes, tea, and coffee, should be consumed separately from
iron fortified foods and iron supplements. The Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention recommend 30 mg per day for all pregnant women
* Zinc & Copper. Because iron can interfere with the absorption of
other minerals, pregnant women taking iron should have 15 mg of zinc
and 2 mg of copper each day.
* Calcium. 1,300 mg a day is recommended for all women (pregnant or
not) aged 14 to 18 years, and 1,000 for women aged 19 and older. Some
studies seem to indicate that women at risk of pregnancy induced
hypertension should take higher levels of calcium. For women who don?t
get much calcium in their diet, supplementation should include vitamin
D, which helps the body absorb calcium more efficiently.
(?Nutrition and Lifestyle for a Healthy Pregnancy Outcome,? American
On the other hand, there are some foods pregnant women should avoid.
Don?t eat swordfish, shark, or fresh tuna; they may contain high
levels of mercury, which can be harmful to the baby. Don?t eat any
fresh water fish, as they may also contain mercury, in addition to
pesticides. More cautious doctors recommend that pregnant women avoid
both salt- and fresh-water fish entirely, including canned tuna.
Don?t eat unpasteurized milk, or anything made from unpastereurized milk.
Avoid soft cheeses such as feta, Brie, Camembert, blue-veined and
Avoid cold cuts, as they may contain harmful bacteria.
Avoid or at least limit caffeine intake. Some studies show that it may
induce miscarriages, or even cause birth defects. Caffeine crosses the
placenta and can increase the baby?s heart rate and affect his or her
And, of course, no alcohol should be consumed during pregnancy.
Recently, some doctors have been encouraging different nutritional
guidelines for teenage mothers (pregnant and nursing). Specifics on
this are still being discussed and studied, but here is an interesting
article on the topic: ?Special Dietary Guidelines for Teenage
Mothers:? http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/mar98/diet0398.htm )
Nursing women need to follow the same guidelines as pregnant women
(including vitamins), but with some variations.
A nursing woman losses 200 -- 300 milligrams of calcium a day in
breast milk. Therefore, it?s especially vital to make sure this
calcium gets replaced through diet or supplementation. Nursing women
need the equivalent of at least three glasses of milk per day (1,000
mg per day). (Nursing mothers who are 18 or younger should have 1,300
mg per day.)
In addition, nursing takes more energy from a woman?s body than
pregnancy does. Therefore, women should up their calories by an
additional 500 per day and have about ten servings of grains
(especially complex carbs) per day.
When eating vegetables, nursing women should be sure to include
vitamin C-rich veggies, which are important for the baby.
Finally, certain strongly-flavored foods (like onions, garlic,
broccoli, cabbage, or cauliflower), spicy foods, or beans, may give
breast milk an "off" flavor that the baby may not like. If the baby
seems reluctant to nurse, avoid such foods.
(?Nutritional Guidelines for Nursing Moms,? Parenthood:
?Nursing Nutrition,? Children's Nutrition Research Center at Baylor
College of Medicine:
NEW MOTHERS WHO DON?T NURSE
While one would imagine that a new mom whose body has just been
through nine months of baby-bearing would need special nutritional
guidelines, most experts don?t have any recommendations in this area.
It?s generally assumed that new moms who aren?t nursing are eager to
loose weight, and a regimen of exercise and diet (as recommended by
the USDA) are prescribed. (USDA Food Pyramid:
One of the very best books about pregnancy and nutrition is ?Nutrition
for a Healthy Pregnancy: The Complete Guide to Eating Before, During,
and After Your Pregnancy? by Elizabeth Somer
Another great title is ?Every Woman's Guide to Eating During
Pregnancy? by Martha Rose Shulman, M.D. and Jane Davis
I cannot honestly say there is one, single high profile expert in the
field of pregnancy and nutrition. Most nutrition guidelines come from
government sources, or a variety of different medical studies. That
said, authors of books on the subject are usually great experts to
I hope this answers your question fully. If you have any concerns,
please request a clarification before rating this Answer.
pregnant "nutritional guidelines " site:*.gov
pregnant "nutritional guidelines?
nursing "nutritional guidelines " site:*.gov
nursing "nutritional guidelines "
post-pregnancy "nutritional guidelines " site: *.gov
post-pregnancy "nutritional guidelines
"after pregnancy" diet
Clarification of Answer by
20 May 2005 12:58 PDT
Certainly! :) Getting our vitamins and minerals from foods is always
a good thing?-they tend to be better absorbed by our bodies. Vitamins
are typically prescribed because patients aren?t getting enough of
what they need from their diets. However, a contentious eater wants to
at least get some of their vitamins from actual food.
So, with this in mind, here are the basic vitamins and minerals
pregnant women need, and common sources for those ingredients in food:
* Folic Acid. Found in legumes, dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli,
Brussel sprouts, citrus fruits and juices (especially oranges), and
whole-wheat bread. (?Folic Acid:?
* Iron. Found in red meat, poultry, egg yolks, beans, peas, green
leafy vegetables, whole grain, dried fruits, and iron fortified
cereals. (?Iron:? https://www.nutritionfarm.com/FOCUS/FOCUS/Minerals/IRON.HTM
* Zinc. Found in red meat and poultry (but ?susceptible to destruction
during cooking?). Also found in grains, non-fermented soy foods,
corn, legumes, nuts, and seeds (?however, many of these foods contain
phytic acid which binds to the zinc and makes it unabsorbable?). Best
found in pecans, Brazil nuts, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, and green
peas. (?Zinc:? http://www.unhinderedliving.com/zinc.html and
* Copper. Found in almonds, avocado, beans, beets, broccoli, garlic,
green leafy vegetables, lentils, and soybeans. (?Copper:?
* Calcium. Found in milk and dairy products, in addition to tofu,
calcium-enriched bread, fortified cereals, oranges and orange juice,
collard greens, turnip greens, kale, bok choy, Swiss chard, broccoli,
sweet potato, almonds, soy beans, and pinto beans. (?Food Sources for
"sources for calcium"
"sources for zinc"
?sources for copper? diet
"sources for iron"
"sources for folic acid"