3.2.2 Eating during pregnancy
Women’s nutrition during pregnancy and lactation should focus on the three micronutrients (vitamin A, iron and iodine) and extra energy intake/reduction of energy expenditure. Therefore the following are essential nutrition actions related to maternal nutrition:
- A pregnant or breastfeeding woman needs extra foods, especially those that are good sources of iron.
- Pregnant women need at least one additional meal (200 Kcal) per day during the pregnancy.
- A pregnant woman needs to cut down her energy expenditure. She should reduce her involvement in strenuous household tasks that lead to higher energy expenditure.
- Pregnant women should eat iodised salt in their diet.
- Pregnant women should take vitamin A rich foods (such as papaya, mango, tomato, carrot, and green leafy vegetable) and animal foods (such as fish and liver).
- In the malarious areas, pregnant women should sleep under an insecticide-treated bed net.
- Pregnant women during the third trimester of pregnancy should be de-wormed using mebendazole or albendazole (you will learn about the doses for this in Study Session 7 of this Module).
- Pregnant women need a well balanced diet containing mixture of foods. This should include as far as possible food from the different food groups (animal products, fruits, vegetables, cereals and legumes).
Remember, there is no need for high-priced foods! A pregnant or lactating woman can get extra foods by eating a little more of ordinary meals. She should increase the amount of nourishment at one or two meals, not every meal.