Dietary Requirements For Pregnant And Breastfeeding Women

To ensure good health for both the mother and baby during and after pregnancy, pregnant and lactating women require considerably higher levels of nutrition.

Pregnant and lactating women require higher nutritional intake to maintain the well-being of both the mother and child during and after pregnancy. It is important for expectant and breastfeeding mothers to be aware of the vital nutrients needed to ensure optimal growth and development of their infants.

Importance of Proper Nutrition for Pregnant and Lactating Women

The saying “you are what you eat” is particularly true for pregnant and lactating women. Consuming nutrient-rich food and drinks can bring lasting health benefits for both the baby and mother. Some women start eating healthily before conception, while others make healthier choices after getting pregnant. The following paragraphs provide simple tips to help pregnant and lactating women stay on track with their nutrition.

Tip 1: Avoid Intake of Unhealthy Food and Drinks Processed food, snacks, and beverages high in sugar content should be avoided. Raw or undercooked meat, fish, eggs, and produce are also not recommended for consumption. Alcoholic beverages and high caffeine intake should be avoided as well.

Tip 2: The Nutrients You Need Pregnant and lactating women should consult their physicians or obstetricians to determine their nutritional needs. Here are some essential nutrients that should be included in their diets:

  • Iron: Needed for red blood cell development in the mother and baby. Sources of iron include lean meat, organ meat, seafood, and green leafy vegetables.
  • Folic acid: Helps prevent neural tube defects in the baby’s brain or spine. Sources of folic acid include spinach, green beans, and lettuce.
  • Calcium: Helps develop the baby’s bones, teeth, muscle movement, and nerve function. Sources of calcium include dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt.
  • Iodine: Helps in the development of healthy brain and nervous systems in babies. Sources of iodine include fish, iodized salt, and cheese.
  • B-complex vitamins: Help optimize food to energy conversion, enable proper respiration, digestion, blood circulation, and are needed in the development of nervous systems in babies. Sources of B vitamins include dark leafy vegetables, meat, fish, and beans.
  • Zinc: Helps prevent the development of congenital malformations and low birth weight in babies, as well as preterm births. Sources of zinc include meat, fish, and seafood.
  • Vitamin A: Essential for immune function and vision development in babies. Sources of vitamin A include oily fish, eggs, cheese, and yellow/orange fruits and vegetables.
  • Vitamin C: Helps develop baby’s bones and teeth and assists in iron absorption. Sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, chili peppers, guava, and papaya.

It is advisable to consider the suggested daily dietary intake for expectant and nursing mothers, as outlined in the Philippine Dietary Reference Intakes (2015) published by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Philippine Department of Science and Technology.

Proper nutrition is vital for you and your baby’s well-being at all stages of life, ensuring that your health requirements are met. Maintaining a healthy pregnancy is possible by being mindful of your diet, hydration, and supplement intake. Nonetheless, each individual’s health needs and condition may vary, necessitating regular consultations with a healthcare provider. It is advisable to discuss with your doctor about the vitamins and supplements that you may need to take during pregnancy.

Medical Disclaimer

Your physician is always the best resource for providing the appropriate medical guidance for your situation. If you suspect an adverse drug reaction, seek medical assistance promptly and report it to the FDA at Only purchase your medication from reputable and trustworthy pharmacies and retailers.