Pregnancy is the one time in a life when eating habits directly affects the growing foetus. Nutrition and pregnancy refers to the nutrition intake and dietary planning that is undertaken before, during and after pregnancy. Nutrition of the foetus begins at conception. So, nutrition to the mother is important from before conception as well as throughout pregnancy and breast feeding.
The routine use of prenatal vitamins is widespread .Humans have lived about eighty thousand. So, it is difficult to demonstrate the benefits of additional vitamins in pregnancy. Folate supplement is probably the only exception. Certain vitamins may in fact be dangerous to supplement. For instance vit-A should never exceed about 5,000 IU/day.
Taken in as little as ten times the RDA, vitamin-B6,C and D as well as Iron, Zinc and selenium may all be toxic.
RDA for women during Pregnancy:
|Nutrients||In Mg during pregnancy|
|Fat soluble vitamins:|
|Water soluble vitamins:|
Energy – 469KJ (112 kcal)
Fat – saturated – 7.926g; Monounsaturated -3.678g; polyunsaturated-0.473g
Protein – 0.04g
Minerals: potassium- 1 mg
Vitamin – E: 2.8mg
Vitamin –K: 8.6mg
Vitamin-A: 3069 IU
Ghee is abundant in saturated fatty acids. It contains appox 8% saturated fatty acids which makes it easily digestible. The digestibility co-efficient or the rate of absorption is 96% which is better than any other animal or vegetable fat.
It contains triglycerides, diglycerides, monoglycerides , phospholipids contains beta caratone 60 IU and vitamin E which are known anti-oxidants.
Butter is a rich source of easily absorbed Vit-A, needed for a wide range of functions from maintaining good vision to keeping the endocrine system in top shape.
It also contains the other entire fat-soluble Vitamin (D, E and K2).
Minerals: important traces of minerals including manganese, chromium, zinc, copper and selenium (a powerful antioxidant)
Butter provides more selenium per gram. It is also an excellent source of Iodine.
Iodine is recommended for pregnant women. Severe iodine deficiency leads to cretinism, a condition with mental retardation and multiple neurological defects with large amount of seaweed in the diet. Too much of ingestion of iodine leads to depressing thyroid function and leading to a goiter in foetus. Avoid any commercial iodide supplements other than that in iodized salt.
It provides appreciable amount of short and medium chain fatty acids, which support immune function, boosts metabolism and have anti-microbial properties that is they fight against pathogenic micro-organisms in the intestinal tract.
Importance of vitamins:
It also provides perfect balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fats.
Arachidonic acid in butter is important for brain function, skin health and prostaglandin balance.
Cholesterol – needed to maintain intestinal health and for brain and nervous system development in the young.
Vitamin E on pregnant women increases cervical mucosa, prevents miscarriage, prevents egg defects, increases blood volume, and maintains health issues. And it prevents foetal defects, maintains placental micro-circulation, and inhibits placental aggregation.
Calcium: There is little or no evidence that supplementation of calcium is of any benefits in pregnancy. Calcium decreases incidence of pregnancy induced hypertension.
Vitamin-K allowing blood to clot helps in development of baby’s bone.
Vitamin A is important in baby’s embryonic growth of heart, kidney, lungs, kidney, eyes, bones and circulatory, respiratory and central nervous system. The smaller amount of vit-A is sufficient for normal growth.
The addition of folate has been clearly shown to be beneficial. 1 mg of folate daily will prevent a type of amemia known as megaloblastic anemia as well as statically reduces the chance of neural tube defects such as spina bifida, if taken from conception through 6 weeks.
Vitamin B12 does not need to be supplemented in anyone with an adequate intake of animal protein, except for the extremely rare patients with pernicious anemia.
Proteins – The amino acids which link together to form proteins are the building blocks of muscles , blood , bone , hair, skin, teeth and the cells of CNS , including the brain. They also serve as enzymes which are essential to the chemical reactions involved in both storing and breaking down compounds for energy.
High protein diet does not always affect birth weight or the incidence of pre-eclampsia as was once thought. 80gms of protein /day is more than adequate and can be met by 2-3 servings of dairy products.
Fats are essential to life, just as proteins and carbohydrates. Fats are broken down for energy and they are needed to help with absorption of vitamin-A, D, E & K.
Omega 3 essential fatty acids are necessary for proper development of the foetal nervous system.
Calories: An increase of 300 calories/day is recommended for a woman of normal weight less than this could cause protein to be broken down for energy rather than used for growth and development.
Health Benefits of Ghee:
Ghee reduces constipation and flatulence. Builts up strength and stamina of the mother. It improves appetite. Develops mental abilities like concentration, guick grasping, memory, and recalls in fetus.
It nourishes body tissues, strengthens sense organs, immunity.
It improves tone and strength of the voice.
– Stein, Z et al Nutrition and Mental performance science 178:708. 1972 and smith CA effects of maternal under nutrition in Holland AJOG 32:229: 1947.
– Nutrition During pregnancy ACOG technical Bulletin # 179 April 1993-94.
– Cunningham et al, William Obstetrics 19th ed. Appleton & lange 1993 257-259.
– Committee on Maternal Nutrition of the National Research council 1989.
– Jeffrey. M. Thurson: 1000 questions about your Pregnancy, ISBN 1-56530-265-6, copyright @ 1997, page 34-42.