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Pregnancy and nutrition information for pregnant women

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What after childbirth?

Breast milk is the natural food of every newborn and infant. The biochemical composition of breast milk is adapted to the newborn’s needs. Breast milk is optimally digestible, protects the baby from infections, and reduces the risk of allergies. All of this affects the health and happier growth of your baby. Also, breastfeeding establishes a strong emotional bond between mother and child.
A balanced and varied diet is also essential during breastfeeding. With her proper eating habits, the breastfeeding mother provides the optimal foundation for the child’s growth and development.
During breastfeeding, the need for energy and nutrients increases since the baby draws all the necessary substances for its growth and development from breast milk. Thus, breastfeeding loses essential nutrients to compensate for her diet.

The rule is: DO NOT EAT FOR TWO!
Diet during breastfeeding is not complicated and does not require any special diet. You should eat mixed and varied foods that include all basic food groups: cereals, milk, dairy products, meat, fruits, and vegetables. Breastfeeding is needed on average 500 kcal daily more than a healthy woman who is not pregnant and not breastfeeding. Additional energy needs also depend on the mother’s constitution and the newborn’s needs.

Nutrition of healthy, normally fed nursing mothers

(Mardešić Duško et al., Pediatrics, Školska knjiga, 2000)


Average needs healthy women

Additional needs breastfeeding

Energy (kcal/day)


+ 500

Protein (g / day)


+ 20



+ 20% / day

Fluid (l / day)


according to the feeling of thirst

An extra 500 kcal a day is not much, so you need to be careful about what and how you eat to avoid gaining excess weight.

Certain foods present in the breastfeeding mother’s diet can cause bloating, colic, or indigestion in the baby.

“Problematic” foods in breastfeeding

● Citrus fruits – can cause redness of the skin in babies.
● Beans, peas, legumes, onions, cabbage, kale – can cause bloating and cramps in babies.
● Caffeine and theobromine (in cocoa and chocolate) – in higher doses can cause irritability and restlessness in babies.
● Tein – an ingredient in tea that has a similar effect as caffeine. Consumption of tea is recommended, but you should choose those with a lower weight proportion. You should avoid black tea.
● Not very salty or spicy is not recommended
● fragrant vegetables (garlic, onions, broccoli) contain fragrant oils that pass into the milk and give it an odor that will cause indigestion in most babies.
● Dairy products – very often, cramps in babies can occur due to the mother’s consumption of dairy products.

However, no food should be removed from the mother’s menu until the child’s disturbances have been proven. Namely, all possible problems caused by foods present in the mother’s menu, the practice has shown, but there is no solid scientific evidence yet. Please do not allow your diet to become monotonous because then it is tough to meet all the body’s needs for nutrients.
That’s why it’s up to mothers to pay attention to their baby’s sensitivity.

Fluid intake during breastfeeding

Fluid needs during breastfeeding are higher than usual. It is best to deal with the feeling of thirst, which is intensified in most breastfeeding mothers.

Special teas for breastfeeding women can be found on the market (eg: HiPP tea for breastfeeding women ) for which there is a scientifically proven lactogenic effect (increase milk production) and multivitamin drinks for breastfeeding mothers (eg: HiPP diet drinks for breastfeeding women with iron and folic acid ).

Breastfeeding and smoking

Smoking is prohibited during breastfeeding. Women who smoke produce less milk and stop breastfeeding earlier. Their children often experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea …

Smoking should not be allowed in the rooms where the child stays because passive smoking is harmful to the baby’s health. Respiratory infections in babies exposed to tobacco smoke are much more likely to occur.

Breastfeeding vegetarians and macrobiotics

Any form of vegetarian and macrobiotic diet carries the risk of iron, calcium, zinc, and vitamin D. . Namely, all forms of a plant-based diet are rich in phytates, and some other food ingredients interfere with the absorption of important vitamins and minerals. Also, a major problem is the lack of vitamin B12 with the proviso of animal origin.

Breastfeeding vegetarians and macrobiotics are recommended to supplement their diet with multivitamin-mineral supplements and vitamin B12 injections, but they should definitely consult a doctor.

Supplemental nutrition during breastfeeding

For the child’s proper development, a healthy diet of the mother is necessary. Inadequate maternal nutrition can adversely affect maternal health status and cause a decline in immunity. The need for nutrients is increased during breastfeeding, but you can provide your body with a sufficient amount with a balanced diet. The exceptions are iron and folic acid, which need to be taken additionally, of course, with prior consultation with a doctor.

If, for some reason, the breastfeeding mother is not able to eat a variety of foods, it is necessary to supplement the diet with supplements prepared according to the specifics of the breastfeeding mother’s diet (e.g., HiPP multivitamin drinks with iron and folic acid ).

One day through the diet of a pregnant woman

With a balanced diet and without much effort and sacrifice, you can provide your body with most of the necessary nutrients. See what a healthy pregnant woman’s diet should look like.


E.value (kcal)

Calcium (mg)

Iron (mg)

Fiber (mg)

2 integral rice crackers (15g)

1 glass of natural orange juice (2.4dcl)






E.value (kcal)

Calcium (mg)

Iron (mg)

Fiber (mg)

1 slice of rye bread (60g)

1 tablespoon fresh cow’s cheese (50g)

1 small tomato (100g)






E.value (kcal)

Calcium (mg)

Iron (mg)

Fiber (mg)

1 larger banana (135g)

1 cup Ab culture 0.1% mm (2.4dcl)






E.value (kcal)

Calcium (mg)

Iron (mg)

Fiber (mg)

200g chicken fillet (without skin)

2 small potatoes (250g)

100g mushrooms

200g lettuce

2 teaspoons olive oil (10g)






E.value (kcal)

Calcium (mg)

Iron (mg)

Fiber (mg)

2 tablespoons fresh cow’s cheese (100g)

1 small apple (106g)






E.value (kcal)

Calcium (mg)

Iron (mg)

Fiber (mg)

5g integral pasta

2 small carrots (100g)

1 small pepper (100g)

1 small tomato (100g)

3 slices of edam (60g)

2 tablespoons sour cream 12% mm (60g)





E. value (kcal)

Calcium (mg)

Iron (mg)

Fiber (mg)






Supplemental nutrition during pregnancy

There are many dietary supplements for pregnant women on the market today, but it should be borne in mind that such preparations are not omnipotent. A proper and balanced diet is a major factor affecting mother and baby’s health.

However, due to the increased need for all nutrients in pregnancy, it is difficult for the body to provide a sufficient amount of all nutrients through a normal diet. One should know that vitamins and minerals are not substitutes for diet but only a supplement to it.
Taking care of a quality diet certainly includes taking care of food supplements throughout the pregnancy.
Therefore, it is recommended to supplement the diet with multivitamin-mineral preparations, but you need to know what to choose.

● The body can make the best use of its calcium from natural sources (milk and dairy products), and additional intake during pregnancy is not required

● too much vitamin A can cause damage to the fetus, and increased pregnancy needs can be offset by a balanced diet (increase the intake of fresh fruits and vegetables containing beta carotene)

● input iron is necessary to increase during pregnancy, but too much iron in prenatal preparations will be poorly absorbed.

● There are several interactions between nutrients:

  • high doses of iron interfere with zinc intake and copper absorption
  • increased doses of zinc affect copper absorption
  • high plasma folate concentrations decrease zinc absorption
  • calcium inhibits iron absorption
  • calcium affects the metabolism of zinc, phosphorus, and magnesium

Due to all existing evidence of nutrient interactions and their impact on body functions, caution should be exercised in their supplementation to avoid side effects.
Study the composition of the product carefully and consult your doctor or nutritionist.

Anemia in pregnancy

According to the WHO, iron comes first when it comes to a deficiency in the body of all micronutrients. Several factors affect iron deficiency.

Anemia in pregnancy is becoming more frequent and becoming a public health problem. Due to all the negative consequences of pregnancy anemia, it is necessary to pay more attention to this problem to avoid complications.

Factors affecting iron deficiency:

▪ Insufficient food intake
▪ poor absorption from the digestive system
▪ increased iron loss
▪ increased needs of the organism

During rapid growth and development and pregnancy, women have increased iron needs, and there is a risk of anemia. Thus, pregnancy is a state of specific metabolic needs, so a specific diet is necessary to avoid possible complications caused by nutrient deficiencies. Namely, insufficient iron intake results in too little supply, so even the fetus cannot meet the iron needs. This increases the risk of complications, increased blood loss during childbirth, increased preterm birth rates, low fetal birth weights, and perinatal mortality.

Pregnancy anemia is a major problem in both industrialized and developing countries—the WHO reported gestational anemia. In developing countries, 35-75% of pregnant women suffer from anemia, and in developed countries, 18%.

Due to growth and increased pregnancy needs, pregnant women are particularly susceptible to iron-deficiency anemia. Numerous negative consequences of anemia for both mother and child have been observed.
Most iron is needed during the third trimester. A sufficient amount of iron is difficult to settle from food due to a restrictive diet and difficult iron bioavailability due to high dietary fiber and phytate intake.

Current findings indicate that anemia in pregnancy is a risk factor that can result in preterm birth and low fetal birth weight. Although little is actually known about supplemental iron benefits for mother and child, iron supplementation is still a widespread health measure. Many women around the world become anemic during pregnancy.

Anemia and fetal birth weight

In several studies, an association between hemoglobin concentration in maternal blood and fetal birth weight was observed. A proportional relationship between anemia and fetal weight was observed. The higher the hemoglobin concentration, the higher the newborn’s weight, and iron supplementation plays an important role.

Anemia and preterm birth

baby nutrition

There is a lot of evidence of the negative impact of anemia in the early stages of pregnancy on preterm birth resulting in low fetal birth weight.
Klebanoff et al. conducted a study in which they showed a double risk of preterm birth in anemic women.

Thus, iron deficiency anemia is a risk factor in early pregnancy. Premature birth also greatly affects the health of the fetus.

Anemia and nervous system development

Iron deficiency anemia in the early stages of life is associated with the nervous system’s development and affects behavior. Numerous studies on children show that this is an irreversible (irreversible) effect. This is most evident in the chemistry of neurotransmitters and the organization and morphology of neural connections.

The brain utilizes iron depending on the brain region, and the passage of iron through the blood-brain barrier is controlled. Iron deficiency in the brain has numerous consequences from a neurochemical and neurobiological aspect.

Thus, iron is an essential micronutrient for neurological functioning and development.

Anemia and the risk of postpartum depression (PPD)

Anemia’s influence on the occurrence of postpartum depression (PPD) is not a fully elucidated mechanism. PPD is a serious disorder with negative consequences for the mother and child’s physical and mental condition. Psychosocial factors that increase the risk of PPD are known, such as prenatal depression, child care, child temperament, lack of self-esteem, poor social status, etc. PPD can have long-term consequences in terms of the developmental and cognitive arrest.

In addition to evidence that thyroid dysfunction plays a role in individual cases of PPD, some physiological variables have been identified that may be a significant predictor of this disorder’s onset. One of them is fatigue, and the other is anemia. Anemia promotes fatigue and is associated with additional symptoms such as tenderness, apathy, and inability to concentrate. Besides, iron deficiency affects the metabolism of the thyroid gland. Thus, anemia is associated with depressive symptoms. The study, which aimed to confirm this hypothesis, included 37 women who had just given birth. The researchers visited the women in their homes on the 7th, 14th. And 28. day after delivery. At each visit, a blood sample was taken from the women to determine hemoglobin levels. Anemia was defined in cases where the hemoglobin concentration was  120 g / L. Besides, the researchers obtained information on eating habits, prenatal care, and work status using a questionnaire. At the last meeting, the women completed the questionnaire by assessing the symptoms of depression.

The study results showed that early postpartum anemia indicated by low hemoglobin levels is a significant factor in the development of PPD.

Lower Hb concentration is a normal occurrence in a healthy pregnancy and the first 3-4 days after delivery. Then the concentration should start to rise. In 8 women in this study, it was observed during the visit that the Hb concentration did not return to normal. All 8 women soon developed symptoms of depression.
Thus, anemia can contribute to the development of a depressed state. Some of the symptoms that result from anemia (fatigue, irritability, poor concentration) significantly affect the mother’s feelings in the period after pregnancy and the relationship with the child.

However, further tests are needed to establish the relationship between these parameters with certainty.

Nutrient needs in pregnancy

In pregnancy, all nutrients need are increased, especially for iron, iodine, and folic acid. It is necessary to provide the body with a sufficient amount of all nutrients to avoid the consequences of their lack.

The diet should ensure nutrient intake that meets the fetus and the woman’s needs.
In pregnancy, metabolism is influenced by hormones that redirect nutrients to the placenta and the mammary glands. Renal function is altered, so the excretion of water-soluble vitamins is increased. Blood volume and composition also change. In the third trimester of pregnancy, the blood volume increases by 35-45%, mostly due to the expansion of the plasma volume and the increase in the mass of erythrocytes.

Due to the changes that occur in pregnancy (“second condition”), pregnant women’s diet must follow the changes that occur in a woman’s body. In the development and growth of the unborn child, the mother’s diet plays an important role, but this does not mean that the mother has to eat twice as much food.

From conception until childbirth, there are many changes in a woman’s body, including increased bodywork; it is necessary to balance the nutritional components (proteins, fats, and carbohydrates) and the necessary vitamins and minerals. The mother’s need for certain vitamins and minerals during pregnancy increases significantly.
But what is good in small amounts may not be better in larger amounts, especially during pregnancy. Vitamins and minerals in high doses can have harmful effects on the body. This is especially evident during pregnancy, with vitamin A and vitamin D, which exhibit toxic effects when ingested at levels that are not in line with recommended daily amounts.

Recommended daily intake of nutrients for pregnant women

(DRI, 1997)



(25 – 40 years)

Pregnant women

Energy (kcal)

1800 – 2000

2000 – 2300

Vit. A (μg)



Vit. C (mg)



Vit. D (μg)



Vit. E (mg)



Vit. K (μg)



Vit. B1 (mg)



Vit. B2 (mg)



Vit. B3 (mg)



Vit. B6 (mg)



Vit. B12 (μg)



Folic acid (μg)



Pantothenic acid (mg)



Biotin (μg)



Choline (mg)



Calcium (mg)



Phosphorus (mg)



Magnesium (mg)



Iron (mg)



Zinc (mg)



Fluorine (mg)



Iodine (μg)



Selenium (μg)



Chromium (μg)



Copper (μg)



Manganese (mg)





Miko Lamberto

Ja sam nutricionista sa 10 godina iskustva, neke od svojih zapažanja sam preneo u naš blog. Za najnovije vesti i informacije o prirodi i pridonom lečenju nas pratite.

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