The 30 million low-birth-weight babies born annually (23.8% of all births) often face severe short and long-term health consequences like diabetes and heart disease. The consequences of poor nutritional status and inadequate intake during pregnancy not only directly affects women’s health , but may also have a negative impact on birth weight and early development. Mom-to-be’s intake of a well balanced nutrition during pregnancy hence plays a key role in having a well developed healthy baby at birth and there after.
Here is a quick insight of how mom-to-be’s nutrition intake has an impact on fetal weight every month during the entire journey of pregnancy:
Month 1 & 2:
Being one of the crucial months of pregnancy, this is also the time when mom-to-be begins to realise and acknowledge her pregnancy. Mom-to-be, you may experience nausea and morning sickness that can interfere with your diet and nutrition. Be sure to start taking your prenatal vitamins and ensure your Folate intake is high.
Month 3 of pregnancy continues to mark the growth of fetus, placenta and amniotic sac. Plan a weekly menu consisting of a balanced diet to help you and your baby gain enough weight. Stay hydrated to prevent dehydration due to morning sickness that can impact your and your baby’s weight.
This phase will witness a good growth and development of your baby.The nervous system starts to function at this point in pregnancy. Your baby can even suck his or her thumb, yawn, stretch, and make faces. Go for zinc rich food like beans that will help reduce the risk of prolonged labor and low birth weight of baby.
Never skip your Prenatal Vitamins. Take these Vitamins regularly for optimal foetal weight gain during pregnancy. Having a light exercise routine with healthy eating habits go a long way for baby’s growth and development. Hair will begin to grow on your baby's head, and lanugo, a soft fine hair, covers his or her shoulders, back, and temples.
By the end of the sixth month, the baby's finger and toe prints are visible. The eyelids begin to part and the eyes open. Apart from keeping your bone and teeth health in place, adding good amounts of Calcium in your diet reduces chances of low birth weight babies & preterm labor.
Your baby continues to grow its organs and starts storing fat. A daily intake of 200-500 ml of milk can do wonders in increasing foetal weight. While your aches and pains tend to increase now, you can remain energetic by taking the right amounts of protein and iron along with a balanced diet.
This month the baby continues to mature, adding and experiencing rapid brain development. Continue to take eggs in your daily diet. Eggs being rich in Folic Acid and Iron, help in strengthening amniotic membranes, preventing birth defects & low birth weight in the foetus.
You may slow down and feel more anxious and restless as you near your due date. Baby’s lung development is the key focus of this month. Baby weight will not increase much by end of this month as he or she prepares for delivery.Continue to eat a healthy and balanced diet in order to prepare well for breastfeeding and postpartum phase.
Apart from taking a healthy, nutritious diet during pregnancy, it is also important to avoid stress, sleep well and stay fit in order to gain the right amount of weight for you and your baby. After all, a healthy mom makes a healthy baby!
Disclaimer: It is important to consult with your Doctor before deciding the dose and content of nutrition before consumption.
The views, opinions and recommendations expressed in this article are solely those of the author and intended as an educational aid