NUTRITION: Expectant mothers should observe proper nutrition

Nutritionists advise would-be mothers to monitor their weight as it indicates if they are eating the right kind and amount of foods. The expectant mother should give more attention on proper nutrition during the entire duration of her pregnancy.

The Food and Nutrition Research Institute, Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST) has developed a weight-for-height table by month of pregnancy. This table is a helpful tool for moms-to-be in determining her nutritional status.

The total weight gain for the entire duration of pregnancy can range from 13.45 kilograms (or 29.59 pounds) for a mom who is 142 centimeters (or 4 feet – 6 inches) tall, to 19.4 kilograms or 42.68 pounds) for a mom who stands 170 cm (5’ 5”).

The average weight gain for a full-term pregnancy is 12.5 kilogram but the recommended weight gains over pregnancy depend upon the mom’s stature and prepregnancy nutritional status. Weight for the particular height and specific month of pregnancy that is below the stipulated range indicates that mom is not gaining enough weight. On the other hand, weight that is above the stipulated weight range indicates that the mom is overweight or gaining weight very fast. Underweight moms need to gain more weight while those who are overweight need to gain less weight. Not obtaining the ideal weight during the different trimesters or months of pregnancy poses some risks, either on the part of mom or the baby inside the womb. An underweight mom-to-be may have a low birth weight infant. An overweight mom-to-be may likewise give birth to an overweight infant and may experience difficult or prolonged labor.

According to the Recommended Energy and Nutrient Intakes (RENI), 2002 developed by the RENI Technical Working Group (TWG) Committee and RENI Task Forces composed of professionals in the health and nutritional sciences, an expectant mother needs additional 300 kilo calories per day from the fourth month to the ninth month of pregnancy.

Eating more, however, is not enough. It should be of the right kind and amount. Iron-rich foods such as liver, heart, kidney, lean meat, egg yolk, and leafy and yellow vegetables should be included in the daily meals to prevent iron-deficiency. Vitamin-C rich foods, like ripe or green mango, papaya, chico, pineapple, melon and watermelons will make better use of the iron.

Remember: proper nutrition and regular check-up of a mom-to-be is the key to ensuring a healthy baby!#