Healthy Diet and Pregnancy
Is the focus on proper nutrition during pregnancy a recent concept? Actually, not at all. Even in the Old Testament in the book of Judges, chapter 13, we find a description of the first prenatal visit. Manoach’s wife was sterile and did not have any children. The angel of the Lord appeared to her and said: “You are barren and childless, but you are going to become pregnant and give birth to a son. Now see to it that you drink no wine or other fermented drink and that you do not eat anything unclean. You will become pregnant and have a son…”
Since then, some people eat to live or survive; others live to eat — eating too much or too poorly. Food education begins at birth and never stops. From the time a woman decides to get pregnant until her child is born, nutritional management is a significant component that contributes to better fertility and fewer obstetrical, neonatal and paediatric complications… it’s the endless circle of life.
Pregnancy doesn’t start at the moment of conception; it begins well before! Preconception nutritional management is crucial. Take folic acid, for example: the recommended dose is 400 mg each day starting at least one month — or even up to two months — before a woman becomes pregnant. According to a perinatal study conducted in 2010, only 10% of women had taken the recommended dose. Optimising nutritional intake should continue until the child is two years old, which is 1,000 days.
The authors of this journal show that by adopting a suitable dietary management plan, it’s always possible to reduce obstetrical complications, from conception to birth — it’s never too late.
In Tehran, Iran, S. Ziaei’s team has shown a potential reduction in early pregnancy loss through more balanced micronutrition. In Australia, even motivated pregnant women who thought they were eating healthy still fell significantly short of recommended intakes. Finally, in Norway, a comparison of two patient groups, one with an active nutritional management plan and the other without, showed that those with the plan had better nutritional balance that met recommendations.