Micronutrients in Pregnancy

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Dr. Ashok Kumar
Dr. Gunjan Bhatnagar



Pregnancy is a very important stage in a woman's life. From the period of preconception, to pregnancy states, including the post pregnancy states, increased amount of macronutrients and micronutrients are required by the body; both for the health of the mother and for the growing foetus and infant. Maternal undernourishment at different stage of pregnancy has been linked with poor outcomes, together with augmented risk of maternal and infant death as well as low birth weight infants, preterm births, congenital anomalies and birth defects. In addition, gestational undernutrition has been a concern in rising the offspring's vulnerability to chronic illness (i.e. type 2 diabetes, hypertension, coronary artery disease, and stroke) in adulthood, a phenomenon called Barker's hypothesis. It has long been documented that sufficient iron is vital for best reproductive outcomes, including gestational cognitive development. Similarly, iodine and calcium have been known for their roles in development of the foetus/neonate. Zinc, copper, magnesium and selenium too have contribution towards maternal and offspring's health. Folate sufficiency periconceptionally is known both by the observation of providing folic acid in antenatal iron/folic acid supplementation and by increasing figures of countries invigorating flours with folic acid. Other vitamins likely to be important include vitamins B12, D and A with the water-soluble vitamins usually not as much of expected to be a problem. This article highlights the importance of micronutrients in pregnancy and the impact of their deficiency and the status in India.

Keywords: Micronutrients, Pregnancy, Foetus, Nutrition.

Published Oct 22, 2016

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