Importance of Adequate Nutritional Knowledge and Practices on Pregnancy Outcomes

Nutritional knowledge has been proven to play a very vital role in adopting optimal nutrition practices in the health of every expectant mother. As a matter of fact, health and nutritional status of the population of a nation is an important indicator of development of the county (James, 2015). He added that Nutritional knowledge and practices are being emphasized because of their role in determining the pregnancy outcome as well as the state of health of the expectant mother after childbirth.

Karger and Basel (2010) emphasized that nutrition is important to expectant mothers because it can spell the difference between a healthy new born and a sickly child. He furthermore advised the expectant mother to follow scientific proven practices to make sure that the baby is healthy and strong when it is born. This can be achieved by eating food rich in vitamins and nutrient.

Crowder (2014) defined expectant mother as a woman that is pregnant. According to him, pregnancy is the fertilization of an ovum and its implementation in a woman’s uterus. He noted further, that for approximately nine months the mother carries the developing child within are and that the pregnancy terminates with delivery of the child.

Nash (2011) observed that the relationship that exists between the mother and her unborn child is much. According to her “even while the child is still in the womb, its genes engage the environment of the womb in an elaborate conversation, which is a two way dialogue that involves not only the air the mother breathes and water she drinks but also what drugs she takes, what diseases she contracts and what hardship she suffers. He added that once the beginning embryo is able to obtained good nutrition directly from the rapidly. But if what is obtained from the mother is not nutritional healthy or balanced, so many complications are bound to arise in pregnancy.

Williams (2014) noted that hazards increase with age, the number of pregnancies and the intervals between pregnancies influence the nutritional needs of the mother and the outcome of pregnancy. He further stated that women that are underweight or overweight and those advanced or young maternal age need nutritional support and counseling programmes that will improve birth weight, decease infant mortality and improved participant diet.

Concept of Nutrition and Adequate Nutrition

Nutrition according to Levy et., al  (2013) mean the study of food and the process of receiving nourishment from the food we eat after digestion and metabolism. The body needs food to build new tissues and to repair tissues that wear out as a result of hard work or play. They added that it serves a fuel, gives us energy to work and play and keep our bodies warm. People’s physical and mental development and their capacity to learn work and play their roles in society are wholly dependent on nutrition.

Williams (2015) explained that nourishing foods helps organism to sustain physical life such as in breathing, working, resting, plying and sleeping. But because human beings are much more than mere biological organisms, according to Williams, food had many meanings to them other than simply physical substance. However, he maintained that substance could be fully obtainable when nutrition was adequate; a well-nourished person have strong bones, muscles, teeth and healthy skin and blood. They felt good, had enough for their activities and appear radiant and vigorous.

Concept of Pregnancy

Derek (2016) described an expectant mother as a woman that is pregnant. Pregnancy according to him is said to occur when a single spermatozoa, out of the millions deposited in the upper part of the vagina during intercourse, fertilizers the egg (or ovum) after which the fertilized egg moves from the fallopian tube to and attaches itself in the walls of the uterus or womb.

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Bonnet and Brown (2014) listed the process of pregnancy as involving ovulation, implantation, growth and development of fetus. They explained that during pregnancy, physiological and psychological change take place to increased production of estrogens and progesterone which are the two sex’s hormones in a woman. He further stated that the body adjusts to the hormonal changes, morning sickness accompanied by nausea and vomiting sometimes takes place. They explained further, that the breast grew bigger and tender and the uterus was enlarged. Often times, the mother experience frequent mood change, she occasionally craved for food which she disliked and her sense of smell became very active. He added that as pregnancy advance, the enlarged uterus made her movement uncomfortable and inconvenient. When a woman is pregnant, her nutritional needs and intestinal functions changed making her to eat higher and smaller portions more slowly and more frequently. According to him, she grazed like a toddler in some days, snacked all day long and sometimes satisfies the “always hungry” feeling by eating all the time.

Nutritional Needs and Knowledge in Pregnancy

Haas and Sue (2008) noted that nutrition during pregnancy is probably the most important aspect of this magical creation of life. According to them good nutrition before and during pregnancy can make the difference between health and sickness and support the general constitution of the child for life. Has noted that the keyword for pregnancy is “EAT” and that means eat well, not overeat of eat junky, high and empty calories nutrient or high fat or salty foods, but highly nourishing foods since the risk of nutrients depletion is greatly enhanced during pregnancy and lactation, to enter that demanding period with illness, bad habit (smoking, regular alcohol or caffeine use and other drug use ) or any nutritionally deficiency, such as anemia, may mean a troublesome pregnancy and years of recovery. They added that being in a healthy body weight is important before pregnancy because if a woman was underweight it could be more difficult to conceive if she is overweight she runs a greater risk of complication such as high blood pressure and diabetes during pregnancy.

According to Summelbell (2010), there are numerous changes in nutritional needs for a pregnant woman and such changes were partly due to the nourishment demands of the foetus and partly to other physiological variations that affect absorption and metabolism of nutrients. They listed such changes to and include reduction of electrolytes, glucose, vitamin B12, folate, vitamin B6 and a rise in lipid, triglycerides, and cholesterol in blood.

Nutritional Practices in Pregnancy

Makinde (2014) noted that many expectant mother’s food habits and practices were affected by taboos, superstitions and prejudices. According to utilize local nutrients foods resources abound in various communities for reactions of religions and health as in avoidance of food for allergic reaction and frigidity. He further said that foods, which are in short supply, are mostly being taboos and denied of pregnant women. According to him, in Nigeria with many food taboos as there are many tribes and ethnic groups, most that were being forbidden or neglected center around protein rich foods and taboos usually on the group who need them most, namely pregnant and lactating mothers and children.

According to Mysers (2012), in some part of Nigeria fish are not eaten by pregnant women because they might give birth to a child with scales on their skin. In addition, Mysers, also pointed out that some traditional, unscientific customs demand that the few high nutrient foods available go only to the adult males of the family. He said further that some cultural food taboos that prevent the supply of certain protein rich foods such as eggs, to pregnant women and young children were practices that deprive the expectant mothers and children of the essential needed to prevent malnutrition.

He further stated that some factors affect good nutritional practices among the expectant mothers which are poverty, women’s status, cultural beliefs and practices. According to him, family status may influence pregnancy weight gain through the family’s response to the women’s pregnancy. He noted therefore that micronutrient supplements are cheaper and more feasible and can improve dietary quality by providing several key nutrients, such as iron, vitamin A, folate, and zinc at the same time.

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Empirical Studies on the Relationship between Nutrition and Pregnancy

Williams (2014) revealed that a German obstetrician named Ludwig Prochownick constructed an erroneous assumptions that whatever the foetus needs it will draw from the stores of the mother despite the maternal diet and also the whatever the foetus needs the mother will instinctively crave and consume. He added that a vital relationship between the state of nutrition of the mother and the outcome of pregnancy. He demonstrated the effectiveness of a high- protein, high vitamin, and optimal diet in combating toxemia. Williams also noted that Toverud of Norway reduced the incidence of low birth weight babies in his carefully supervised group to 2.2 % with emphasis on nutritional cake. Williams further recorded that during the 194’0s in Toronto and Canada.  Co -worker based their study on diets of pregnant women using records of food intake during one week and half of the women were judged by their record to have “poor diet “, below recommended standards. According to Williams (2014) within that group, a subgroup receives of optimum standards. In rating the pregnancy, the result according to Williams (2014) revealed that 36 % of the women on “poor diet ” had poor or bad parental ratings, whereas only 9 % of the women who received the supplement that raised the nutritional intake had poor or bad rating of pregnancies, labours and post-partum periods. All functionally immature, and a majority born with morbid congenital defeats were delivered by women whose diets had been inadequate during gestation.

Empirical Studies on the use Nutritional Supplements

William (2014) noted most women need supplements to maintain adequate levels of the minerals needed for pregnancy. Furthermore besides making a new baby, those nutrients were needed to form the placenta to increase the size to the uterus and breast tissue and to create amniotic fluid. He therefore opined that a daily vitamin supplement while not and adequate substitute for a healthy diet help fill in the gaps on day when a woman’s diet is less than perfect. He advised expectant mothers to take a high potency multiple or special prenatal formula with plenty of iron. According to him, if the problem is special like anaemia, more iron may be needed. He said further that nutrients like sodium, chloride, fluoride and potassium should be obtained from the diet. On the hand, he maintained that depending on the dietary intake of various nutrients, such as calcium, zinc or B-vitamins or individual blood measurements, any specific nutrient cane further be increased by supplement use to give the necessary intake.

Effect of Weight Gain in Pregnancy

According to Williams (2014), evidence has mounted from many sources that women produce healthy babies within a wide range of total weight gain. He noted that in one large group of women who gained weight in excess of 14 kilogram (kg) during pregnancy 91 percent ( %) hand no difficulties at all, the range of weight change in pregnancy may very form little or none to gain of 27 kg or more but a normal outcome may be found in such range. maternal weight gain should be based on the pregnant weight status and should occur in an orderly manner during the second and third trimester of pregnant. A weight gain above 1 kg per week solely from the ingestion of food would require of food intake of 7000 -10000 calorie of food per day that is too much compared to the daily requirement in pregnancy. Williams therefore warned that a sudden strap increase in weight gain after the twentieth week of pregnancy is unusual and indicated excessive, week of pregnancy is indicated excessive, water retention that should be watched.

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Consideration in Determining Nutritional Needs in Pregnancy

Williams (2014), from the over whelming evidence involved in the maternal nutrition committee’s deliberations and reports, as well as statements in the resulting guidelines for practice, the following of nutritional requirement during pregnancy. They are: Age and parity of the mother, preconception nutrition, complex metabolic Interaction of gestation and individual needs and adaptation. Concerning age and parity of the mother, He added that the teenage mother adds her own need Presented by her continuing growth to those introduced by her pregnancy. According to him, at the other end of the reproductive span, hazards increase with age and the number of pregnancies and the intervals between their Influences the nutrition needs of the mother and the outcome of pregnancy. Maternal age greater than 34 years acted as a risk factor only in the presence of other studies suggested that age was not an independent risk factor LBW because adolescent mothers come disproportionately from economically disadvantaged and minority population with greater risk of LBW at all ages.


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