Health Tips
Nutritional Deficiency in Pregnancy: Tips for Mothers-To-Be
Nov 29, 2017 - 9:48:38 AM

( - New York, NY, November 29, 2017 – It's often said that a pregnant woman must eat for two. While that old adage doesn't give a mother-to-be license to overeat, it does reflect the fact that she is responsible for her baby's nutrition. The quality of her diet, good or bad, will have lasting effects on the health of her child and eating well is one of a pregnant woman's most essential responsibilities.

“Eating for two doesn't mean eating twice as much,” says OB/GYN Dr. Kecia Gaither, “but a pregnant woman does need more calories and getting those calories from healthy foods is more important than ever. Both mother and baby need foods that are packed with vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, not with empty calories from desserts, candy, and soft drinks.”

A pregnant woman should eat well-balanced meals made up of a variety of foods that contain healthy amounts of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and fats. “Following a healthy diet is the best way to get the nutrients needed,” says Dr. Gaither. “For women who find it difficult to get enough of some nutrients in their diets, the doctor may prescribe prenatal vitamins or nutritional supplements to fill in the gaps and avoid deficiencies. Supplements may be particularly important for women who are vegetarians or have certain food allergies.”

Nutritional deficiencies can have serious consequences for the safety of the pregnancy and the health of the baby. And while all nutrients are important, some are more important than others and are more commonly deficient. Dr. Gaither highlights those that are most critical:

Dr. Gaither concludes: “In general, a pregnant woman will need to consume an extra 300 calories a day chosen from fruits and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and dairy products. What she eats is her baby's source of nourishment and by choosing wisely she can give her child the best opportunity for a healthy start in life.”

Kecia Gaither, MD, MPH, FACOG, a perinatal consultant and women’s health expert, is a double board-certified physician in OB/GYN and Maternal-Fetal Medicine in New York City. Dr. Gaither is Director of Perinatal Services at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center, a member of NYC Health + Hospitals System in Bronx, New York.


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