Nutritional Need of Pregnant Women
Nutritional needs during pregnancy are different since some of the nutrients are passed on to the fetus. In order to stay healthy during pregnancy and to reduce the risk of complications, proper nutritional care should be provided to the women. During pregnancy, women require more of micro and macronutrients that includes proteins, fluids, calcium, iron, and folate. Compared to normal days, women would require an additional of 300 calories. It is recommended that wmen consume foods from all groups in order to receive most of the nutrients. Some examples include cereals and grains that form as a source of energy. A rich source of vitamins and minerals are fruits and vegetables. Protein-rich foods may include fish, meats, eggs, and tofu. Most of these foods would help in providing vitamin B, iron, protein, folate, and calcium. Rich sources of vitamin D and calcium include most milk products. Some healthcare practitioners may also prescribe vitamin supplements depending on the age, weight, and health condition of the women. On an average, a pregnant woman would require 71 mg of protein, 1000 mg of calcium, 27 mg of iron, and 600 mg of folate (folic acid). Thus, nutrition is essential during pregnancy (Lundqvist, A., et al. 2014).
Challenges in caring for pregnant women: Socio-economic and Cultural Barriers
Religion-based practices and literacy/language are some of the socio-economic and cultural barriers observed while caring for pregnant women. Due to lack of education and awareness, pregnant women are not aware of the basics of pregnancy care and nutrition. Furthermore, linguistic barriers often create communication gaps between the healthcare practitioner and patient. Women from low-income groups are neither educated nor understand foreign languages that leads to communication gaps. Many small communities and groups have various religious-based activities that could be harmful to both the women and child that often leads to premature death or abortion (Coast, E., et al. 2014).
Breast Feeding: It is one of the most important factors essential and beneficial for both, women’s and child’s health. Mother’s milk is the best nutrition for infants and should not be substituted under any condition. Breast milk contains antibodies that build up the child’s immune system and also helps in overall development (Ballard, O., & Morrow, A. L. 2013).
Guidance for women against breast-feeding: Nurses should inculcate the importance of breast-feeding to such women by highlighting poor development of children, low immunity, and susceptibility to infections/allergies if milk is not given to the child. A sense of emotional and psychological bonding takes place during breastfeeding (Dieterich, C. M., et al. 2013).
Guidance for women unsure about breastfeeding: The importance of breastfeeding along with its requirement for the child to live a healthy life should be taught to women unsure about breastfeeding by means of social awareness (Dieterich, C. M., et al. 2013).
Guidance for women confused about breast feeding: All confusions regarding breastfeeding should be clarified by the nurse. A myth/fact care should be provided to clear all misunderstandings about breastfeeding. Nurses should educate expecting mothers about all the requirements such as nutrition and child care (Dieterich, C. M., et al. 2013).
The possibility of pregnancy during pregnancy: There is a possibility to get pregnant while breastfeeding since there is a chance to ovulate. Furthermore, it is difficult to know if a woman is pregnant since her menstrual cycles have anyways stopped.
Teen pregnancy and pregnancy in women: The child bearing age of women is above 18 years and ideally over 22 years. However, many teens and adolescent pregnancy cases have been reported lately. The major difference is the incapability of a teenager to care for herself and the child. The maturity level of a teenage girl is low in order to provide care such as breastfeeding, etc. Women of childbearing age are responsible and physically developed to care for the child (Greiner, T. 2014 and Dieterich, C. M., et al. 2013).
Ballard, O., & Morrow, A. L. (2013). Human Milk Composition: Nutrients and Bioactive Factors. Pediatric Clinics of North America, 60(1), 49–74. Retrieved from http://doi.org: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.pcl.2012.10.002
Coast, E., Jones, E., Portela, A., & Lattof, S. R. (2014). Maternity Care Services and Culture: A Systematic Global Mapping of Interventions. PLoS ONE, 9(9), e108130. Retrieved from http://doi.org: http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0108130
Dieterich, C. M., Felice, J. P., O’Sullivan, E., & Rasmussen, K. M. (2013). Breastfeeding and Health Outcomes for the Mother-Infant Dyad. Pediatric Clinics of North America, 60(1), 31–48. Retrieved from http://doi.org: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.pcl.2012.09.010
Greiner, T. (2014). Exclusive breastfeeding: measurement and indicators. International Breastfeeding Journal, 9, 18. Retrieved from http://doi.org: http://doi.org/10.1186/1746-4358-9-18
Lundqvist, A., Johansson, I., Wennberg, A., Hultdin, J., Högberg, U., Hamberg, K., & Sandström, H. (2014). Reported dietary intake in early pregnant compared to non-pregnant women – a cross-sectional study. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 14, 373. Retrieved from http://doi.org: http://doi.org/10.1186/s12884-014-0373-3