Nutrient Recommendations and Dietary Guidelines for Pregnant Women

Lorrene D. Ritchie and Janet C. King

Summary The requirements for selected nutrients increase appreciably during pregnancy. The recommended intakes for the following nutrients are >25% higher than are the amounts recommended for nonpregnant women: protein, a-linolenic acid, iodine, iron, zinc, folate, niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, and vitamin B6. The needs for protein, iron, folate, and vitamin B6 are about 50% higher. Good food sources of these nutrients are grains, dark green or orange vegetables, and the meat, beans, and nuts groups. Additional energy is also required to meet the needs for moving a heavier body, the rise in metabolic rate, and tissue deposition. Approximately 340-450 kcal are needed in the second and third trimesters, respectively. Although these increased nutrient requirements are significant, the same food pattern recommended for nonpregnant women can be recommended to pregnant women because that food pattern meets pregnancy nutrient Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs) for all nutrients except iron and vitamin E. The shortfall in iron and vitamin E can be provided by any vitamin-mineral supplement supplying at least 10 mg iron and 9 mg vitamin E. Use of a common food pattern for women at all stages in the reproductive cycle enables dietitians and other health care providers to teach pregnant women the elements of a quality diet that will better ensure good health for a life time.

Keywords: Pregnancy, Nutrient requirements, Dietary guidelines, Food patterns, Nutrient intakes, Diet counseling

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