Nutrition for Pregnancy

Nutrition for Pregnancy  

By Daniel Rocha 

CMI and SUNM Graduate 

Nutrition during pregnancy is required for the health of the mother and fetus. Calories and specific nutrients must increase for the baby's growth and development. These needs are met by increasing healthful foods and vitamin supplementation. Proper prenatal nutrition ensures a healthy start for a new baby while promoting the mother's well-being during and after pregnancy. Nurses educate pregnant women about sufficient weight gain, the importance of proper nutrition, and following supplementation recommendations.


The height and weight of the mother should be taken into account before pregnancy to assess maternal nutrient needs. Both underweight and excessively overweight women need special attention as maternal weight gain during pregnancy is a factor regarding the baby’s birth weight. Underweight women are susceptible to giving birth to premature or low birth-weight infants, while overweight women can develop pregnancy-related complications.


Maternal weight gain is an indicator of how well a pregnancy is progressing. The average weight gain is set to be 25–35 pounds. Underweight women usually will benefit from gaining about 28–40 pounds, which allows for proper growth of the fetus. Nutrient requirements depend on the physical activity and metabolism of the mother, where physically active mothers would need an increase of 300 extra calories per day during the second and third trimesters. An increase in protein intake, 10 to 12g extra daily, allows for new tissue growth and maintenance. Deficiencies can result in a lower birth weight.


Vitamin and mineral requirements are increased during pregnancy by eating a well-balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Iron and calcium are two minerals that a fetus acquires most during the last trimester of the pregnancy. Physicians advise daily supplementation of 30 mg of iron in ferrous sulfate to avoid iron deficiency anemia. Calcium intake is recommended at 1,200–1,500 mg per day so that the mother does not lose bone mass during pregnancy. Calcium supplementation has been shown to reduce the risk of pregnancy-induced hypertension, also known as preeclampsia.


Folate is essential in developing new cells, and deficiencies have been associated with congenital malformations known as neural tube defects (NTDs), including spina bifida and anencephaly. Spina bifida is characterized by gaps in the spine, typically resulting in severe lifelong disability. Adequate amounts of folate can be obtained from the diet, through approved folate fortification foods such as flour, breads, cereal, and rice.




Breast milk is the ideal food for infants and provides many health benefits for both baby and mother. During and just after pregnancy, the mother's mammary glands enlarge in preparation for milk production. After delivery, estrogen and progesterone drop, signaling prolactin production, which helps produce milk. Inside the breast are alveoli which produce milk, and tiny muscles surrounding the alveoli push the milk into ductules that lead to the milk ducts. The milk travels through the milk ducts and out the nipple feeding the baby.



During the first few hours or days following delivery, a mother produces colostrum which helps infants develop their immune system. Within a day or two after giving birth, a mother begins producing milk. Human breast milk is composed of critical nutrients, including protein, fats, carbohydrates, and vitamins. The primary carbohydrate in breast milk is lactose which helps reduce bacteria in the baby's stomach while absorbing minerals such as magnesium and calcium. The protein in breast milk contains whey and casein, making it especially easy to digest. The fats in breast milk enable the baby to absorb fat-soluble vitamins, which promote the development of the brain and central nervous system. Physicians advise taking prenatal vitamins while breastfeeding to ensure these vitamins are plentiful in the mother's milk.



The benefits for babies who consume breast milk include a strengthened immune system to higher IQ and resistance to cancer. Scientific research supports the benefits beyond nutrition for breastfed children, including protection against childhood illnesses, reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), and may reduce the risk for certain allergic diseases, asthma, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. There are psychological and emotional benefits for babies from the skin-to-skin contact that occurs during breastfeeding.


Mothers benefit from breastfeeding by releasing oxytocin and prolactin, which produce feelings of wellbeing, returning the uterus to its typical size and reducing the risk of postpartum bleeding. Research has found that women who have breastfed have lower rates of ovarian and breast cancer and reduced risks of developing type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and high blood pressure.

The most significant benefit is that breastfeeding is environmentally friendly since it manufactures little to no waste and no water is needed to clean bottles.


So how can you get in that necessary nutrition while satisfying those craving while pregnant? 




Adults and Kids Alike Love the Flavor and Versatility of Iso Poofs

Iso Poofs were created to be a high-protein snack option that the entire family can love. Adults and kids love the delicious flavors of Iso Poofs and can feel good knowing that they are eating something healthy – while tasting like it shouldn't.

Even the pickiest eaters in your home will love and crave MPA Iso Poofs. Eat them by themselves or add them to your meals or snacks to increase the total protein content.

How to Best Use This High-Protein Snack

There's not a wrong way to use or eat Iso Poofs. Let your creativity run wild. The versatility of these high-protein poofs is one of its best attributes.

While MPA Iso Poofs can be eaten as a standalone by itself, there are some fun and creative ways you can use your Iso Poofs as well. Below are some incredible ways for you to boost your protein intake through the use of MPA Iso Poofs.

  • Use Iso Poofs in your salad as croutons
  • Add Iso Poofs to your Greek yogurt
  • Combine Iso Poofs in with your pudding
  • Top your cottage cheese with Iso Poofs
  • Toss some Iso Poofs in your oatmeal
  • Pour some milk (or milk substitute) over Iso Poofs as a cereal
  • Dump some in a bowl as a popcorn replacement
  • Place some on your favorite ice cream as a crunchy topping
  • Make your own trail mix and combine healthy nuts with Iso Poofs

With the many ways that you can implement Iso Poofs into your daily nutrition plan, you’ll never get bored with the wide variety of uses. No longer do you need to rely on protein shakes or bars to increase your protein content for the day. With MPA Iso Poofs you have a fun and enjoyable way to get in your recommended protein intake for the day.

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Gourley, L. M., & Davidson, L., AM. (2018). Prenatal Nutrition. In J. L. Longe (Ed.), The Gale Encyclopedia of Nursing and Allied Health (4th ed., Vol. 5, pp. 2921-2923). Gale.


Nurmi, D. L. (2021). Breastfeeding. In Gale Health and Wellness Online Collection. Gale.

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