Growing a healthy family starts with a healthy mom and pregnancy. Assuring mom is
healthy and happy makes baby and the family healthy and happy.
The World Health Organization has recently reviewed successful protocols around the
world and have suggested care guidelines for all pregnant women, to ensure adequate
nutrition for them and their babies. Fortunately, they are not very complicated, but will
take great encouragement to achieve.
The best advice involves making available consistent counselling about healthy eating
during pregnancy, preferably during scheduled prenatal visits. It is important for each
person to assess the adequacy of her diet, taking into consideration how accessible
good foods are, allergies, food likes and dislikes.
A healthy diet during pregnancy contains adequate energy, protein, vitamins and
minerals, obtained through the consumption of a variety of foods, including green and
orange vegetables, meat, fish, beans, nuts, pasteurized dairy products, and fruit.
The only supplements routinely recommended for moms are iron and folic acid. They
will prevent maternal anemia, sepsis, low birth weight and preterm birth.
Pregnant women need 30-60 mg of elemental iron every day. (Equivalent of 60 mg
elemental iron is 300 mg of ferrous sulfate, tablets or elixir, or 500 mg of ferrous
Folic acid dose is 400-600 mg daily. The recommendation is so strong that every
woman of child bearing age is encouraged to eat folic acid rich foods, as well as take
folic acid supplements, to give the developing baby the earliest exposure to this
amazing nutrient. Foods with folic acid in them include leafy green vegetables, fruits,
dried beans, peas, nuts, enriched breads, cereals and other grain products
Other supplements are not routinely recommended; the emphasis is for eating a wide
variety of foods. The beauty of routine visits, with consistent emphasis on healthy
eating, offers a way for a potential problem to be detected. Supplements could be
prescribed at that point, including an ongoing plan to follow along with
Pregnant women who consume more than 300 mg of caffeine per day should lower
their intake to reduce the risk of pregnancy loss and low birth weight babies. Caffeine is
found in brewed coffee, tea, cola-type soft drinks, caffeinated energy drinks, chocolate,
Ensuring a healthy start involves the whole family. Families are encouraged to visit the
doctor frequently during pregnancy, to discuss specific information about getting
adequate nutrition and exercise. Preparing for a new baby is rewarding and can set the
stage for continued good health for the entire family.