Third trimester: Pregnancy is in a critical period of growth as the fetus will double in length and will increase weight to approximately 7 to 9 pounds. The benchmark period for an infant to be born is after 37 weeks of gestation. After this time, which is the period of intrauterine growth, a baby weighing greater than 5.5 pounds has a more positive outcome, less chance of medical issues, and an overall better quality of life. However, not all babies are born under ideal conditions. An infant born prior to 37 weeks is referred to as preterm . Preterm infants are likely to have increased medical conditions and delayed growth in their early months of life. Based on their weight at the time of birth, an infant may be also classified as: Low birth weight (LBW): An infant weighing less than 5.5 pounds, regardless of their gestational age. Small for gestational age (SGA): An infant small in size, measured relative to its gestational stage. Thus, an infant born at 35 weeks and weighing 5 pounds would be considered LBW but not SGA, as 5 pounds at 35 weeks is within the normal range. Nutrition During Pregnancy Although many factors affect the outcome, an adequate diet, accurate education, and proper prenatal care can increase the chances of a successful pregnancy. During pregnancy one should consider the following: 1. Calories: Quality is more important than quantity during the first trimester. Mom should make certain she is eating all the vitamins and minerals needed for a healthy pregnancy. Foods that are high in sugar and fats should be limited while the focus should be on nutrient-dense foods. The idea of eating for two is a misconception—the calorie needs are not doubled, but rather, the need for certain nutrients increase by 50% during pregnancy. Further, the calorie needs during the second and third trimester only increases by approximately 20%. 2. Adequate weight gain : A healthy weight gain of 25-35 pounds during pregnancy is a good predictor of a healthy pregnancy. The following are standard weight gains recommended for a healthy pregnancy: 1-4 pounds during the first trimester and then approximately 1 pound per week during the remainder of the pregnancy. The chance of complications during pregnancy and delivery increases when a pregnant mom is overweight/obese
or if the baby is larger than normal. The weight gain for pregnant and overweight/obese moms is less than 25 pounds. Likewise, underweight or pregnant teens require a higher weight gain to support the pregnancy, The latest recommendations of weight gain for a full-term pregnancy from the Institute of Medicine: Underweight: 28 to 40 pounds Normal: 25 to 35 pounds Overweight: 15 to 25 pounds Obese: 11 to 20 pounds 3. Increased protein and carbohydrate needs: Most women eat adequate amounts of protein in their normal diet. Pregnant moms require an additional 25 grams per day above the recommended dietary allowance (RDA), but this is easily met without dietary changes. Adequate carbohydrates and protein are required to meet energy needs and for growth. If inadequate carbohydrates are ingested, the body will turn to fat for
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