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The main focus of nutrition during pregnancy is to get the nutrients you and your unborn baby need.
In addition, there are some nutritional basics that can serve as guidelines as you eat nutritiously for two (or more!). Whether or not you’re pregnant, a healthy diet includes proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and plenty of water. Although protein should supply most of these extra calories, your diet needs to be well balanced and should include fresh fruits, grains, and vegetables.
Drink extra fluids throughout pregnancy to help your body keep up with the increases in your blood volume. Following your cravings is fine, as long as you crave foods that contribute to a healthy diet.
Dana Dobbie is a Sydney mother of two remarkably cute children, who shares Dettol’s mission of raising a happy, healthy family, with a zest for life and love. Letter from the EditorFebruary, with school just started, is a good time to work some new healthy habits into your weekly routine.
Although malnutrition's effects on this group have been recognized for decades, there has been little measurable progress in addressing the specific nutritional problems of women and adolescent girls. Adequate nutrition, a fundamental cornerstone of any individual's health, is especially critical for women because inadequate nutrition wreaks havoc not only on women's own health but also on the health of their children. Well-nourished women are better able to provide for themselves, their children, and their families. Well-nourished mothers are more likely to have infants with healthy birth weights, and such children are less likely to ever suffer from malnutrition.
Well-nourished mothers are less likely to bear low birth-weight babies, who are more likely to die in infancy. Well-nourished mothers are more likely to have healthy babies who can survive childhood illnesses.

Women with adequate stores of iron and other micronutrients are less likely to suffer fatal infections and are more likely to survive bleeding during and after childbirth. Well-nourished adolescent mothers are less likely to experience obstructed labor than their undernourished peers. Women are more likely to suffer from nutritional deficiencies than men are, for reasons including women's reproductive biology, low social status, poverty, and lack of education.
Adolescent girls are particularly vulnerable to malnutrition because they are growing faster than at any time after their first year of life. Consult with your healthcare professional (HCP) to develop the plan and approach that works best for your needs during pregnancy. The Australian Dietary Guidelines can help you determine how many servings of each kind of food to eat every day. Generally, you need to consume about 300 calories more per day than you did before you became pregnant to meet the needs of your growing baby. If you do, your unborn baby might not get the right amounts of protein, vitamins, and minerals. However, if you already follow a vegetarian diet, you can continue to do so during your pregnancy. To ensure that you and your baby receive adequate nutrition, consider consulting a registered dietitian for help with planning meals.
Children of malnourished women are more likely to face cognitive impairments, short stature, lower resistance to infections, and a higher risk of disease and death throughout their lives (see Figure 1). It weakens women's ability to survive childbirth, makes them more susceptible to infections, and leaves them with fewer reserves to recover from illness. Sociocultural traditions and disparities in household work patterns can also increase women's chances of being malnourished (see Box 1 at end of article).
Stunting is a known risk factor for obstetric complications such as obstructed labor and the need for skilled intervention during delivery, leading to injury or death for mothers and their newborns.

They need protein, iron, and other micronutrients to support the adolescent growth spurt and meet the body's increased demand for iron during menstruation.
Overall, eating a variety of foods in the proportions indicated is a good step toward staying healthy.
HIV-infected mothers who are malnourished may be more likely to transmit the virus to their infants and to experience a more rapid transition from HIV to full-blown AIDS. Promoting greater gender equality, including increasing women's control over resources and their ability to make decisions, is crucial. Globally, 50 percent of all pregnant women are anemic, and at least 120 million women in less developed countries are underweight.2 Research shows that being underweight hinders women's productivity and can lead to increased rates of illness and mortality. Adolescents who become pregnant are at greater risk of various complications since they may not yet have finished growing. Here at Mission for Health we are celebrating all the little things you do for your family’s health.
Malnutrition undermines women's productivity, capacity to generate income, and ability to care for their families.
Improving women's nutrition can also help nations achieve three of the Millennium Development Goals, which are commonly accepted as a framework for measuring development progress (see Table 1). In some regions, the majority of women are underweight: In South Asia, for example, an estimated 60 percent of women are underweight.
Pregnant adolescents who are underweight or stunted are especially likely to experience obstructed labor and other obstetric complications. This brief discusses the importance of improving women's nutrition and suggests policy options for achieving positive change.

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