Importance Of Correct Nutrition And Vitamins During Pregnancy Biology Essay

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Magnesium in Pregnancy. Magnesium deficiency is associated with preeclampsia, congenital malformations, and infant mortality. It reduces fetal growth retardation, pre-eclampsia if administered during pregnancy. The recommended dietary allowance of magnesium is around 300 mg for nonpregnant women, 300 mg for pregnant women, and 350 mg for nursing women..

If we specifically relate magnesium to its functions, then we will come to know that it relaxes muscle and its proper utilization during pregnancy keeps uterine muscles contracting. Some research data also shows a link between nutritional supplements of Mg during pregnancy to a reduction in premature births and birth defects. Other known functions of magnesium may include regulation of hormonal activity, regulation of calcium metabolism, ATP production and energy production by being involved in over 300 reactions. Pancreatitis, CHF and excessive sweating may contribute to magnesium deficiency and the remedy for all this is magnesium sulphate.


It has been estimated that 20% of the world population are zinc deficient 33 a worrying statistic as in non-human animals a deficiency of zinc during lactation, or while in the womb, results in cognitive impairment that is not reversed by a subsequently adequate intake 34 . Zinc deficiency slows growth as it is involved in the activity of over 200 enzymes, in particular those associated with the synthesis of RNA and DNA. More specifically zinc is found in high levels in the brain where it plays both structural and functional roles . At a physiological level there is increasing evidence that zinc is involved in the development of NMDA receptors, sites at which glutamate acts as a neurotransmitter, particularly in the hippocampus 35 .

A metaanalysis of a series of studies involving in total 9000 mothers and their offspring 36 suggested that there may be a problem in humans. Supplementation with zinc resulted in a 14% reduction in preterm births although the number of low birth weights was not reduced. It has been proposed in particular that preterm infants benefit from

zinc supplementation 37. When a Canadian sample of low birth-weight babies consumed a formula with or without added zinc, quicker growth and better motor development

was associated with the consumption of additional zinc 38. Yet there is some evidence that zinc supplementation has an influence on older children. Again in Canada, when zinc was given for a year to boys aged 5-7 years there was no influence on attention span, although a small group with initially low levels of zinc in their hair grew at a faster rate 39. The first report that zinc supplementation could improve cognitive functioning beyond infancy was based on Chinese children aged 6-9 years 40.


Protein is a very essential macronutrient in all stages of life. It is required during reproduction of new cells and its requirement varies from atleast 70 grams per day for pregnant ladies atleast. Protein is required for new cell generation, for placenta, amniotic tissues and also maternal tissues. Protein is also required to produce new cells and circulating essential proteins as womens demand for blood volume rockets to 40 percent more than normal during pregnancy. Likewise demand also increase during period of lactation by about more than 15 % than normal..

In countries that suffer from widespread protein deficiency, food is generally full of plant fibers, which makes adequate energy and protein consumption very difficult. [28] Protein deficiency is generally caused by lack of total food energy, making it an issue of not getting food in total. Symptoms of kwashiorkor include apathy, diarrhea, inactivity, failure to grow, flaky skin, fatty liver, and edema of the belly and legs. This edema is explained by the normal functioning of proteins in fluid balance and lipoprotein transport. [29]

Insufficiency of protein puts the life of mother and child both in danger. It substantially increases the risk of pre-term infant, low birth baby and does also have negative impacts on cognitive, language, social emotional and behavioral outcomes of child. Therefore always make sure there is sufficient protein source in diet.

[33] Maret,W., Sandstead, H. H., Possible roles of zinc nutriture in the fetal origins of disease. Exp. Gerontol. 2008, 43, 378-381.

[34] Black, M. M., Zinc deficiency and child development. Am.J. Clin. Nutr. 1998, 68, 464S-469S.

[35] Levenson, C. W., Regulation of the NMDA receptor: implications for neuropsychological development. Nutr.

Rev. 2006, 64, 428-432.

[36] Mahomed, K., Bhutta, Z., Middleton, P., Zinc supplementation for improving pregnancy and infant outcome.

Cochrane Database Syst. Rev. 2007, 18, CD000230.

[37] Wasantwisut, E., Nutrition and development: other micronutrients' effect on growth and cognition. Southeast

Asian J. Trop. Med. Public Health 1997, 28, 78-82.

[38] Friel, J. K., Andrews, W. L., Matthew, J. D., Long, D. R., et al., Zinc supplementation in very low birth weight

infants. J. Pediatr. Gastroenterol. Nutr. 1993, 17, 97-104.

[39] Gibson, R. S., Vanderkooy, P. D., MacDonald, A. C., Goldman, A., et al., A growth-limiting, mild zinc-deficiency syndrome in some southern Ontario boys with low height percentiles. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 1989, 49, 1266-1273.

[40] Penland, J. G., Sandstead, H. H., Alcock, N. W., Dayal, H. H., et al., A preliminary report: effects of zinc and micro-nutrient repletion on growth and neuro-psychological function of urban Chinese children. J. Am. Coll. Nutr. 1997, 16, 268-272

28 ^ a b Bodwell, C.E. (1979). "Evaluation of plant proteins to solve nutritional problems of the third world". Plant Foods for Human Nutrition29: 135-162. doi:10.1007/BF0259027

29 ^ Jeffery Schwartz; Bryant, Carol A.; DeWalt, Kathleen Musante; Anita Courtney (2003). The cultural feast: an introduction to food and society. Belmont, California: Thomson/Wadsworth. pp. 282, 283. ISBN 0-534-52582-2.