Iron, folate, calcium and vitamin D are all required in greater amounts during pregnancy.
In addition to increasing intake of certain nutrients, pregnant women should increase their daily energy intake by 100 to 300 kcal.
Inadequate maternal nutrition is associated with insufficient maternal weight gain, inadequate fetal growth, and risk for delivery of a low birth weight infant.
The Centres for Disease Control in the United States estimates that low income women attending public health clinics have a prevalence of anemia of 8%, 12% and 29% in the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd trimesters of their pregnancies, respectively. Maternal iron deficiency is associated with a twice increased risk of preterm delivery and a three times increased risk of low birth weight. It results in decreased work capacity, impaired cognitive function, fatigue and depression in pregnant women and new mothers. There is a high prevalence of iron deficiency and iron deficiency anemia in the general population of reproductive age females. In the United States, 1 in 10 reproductive aged women is iron deficient and 1 in 20 has iron deficiency anemia. Worldwide, iron deficiency is estimated to be the most important single nutrient deficiency. Iron is therefore a nutrient of particular concern in pregnancy.
7. Bodnar, LM, Scanlon, KS, Freedman, DS, Siega-Riz, AM, Cogswell, ME. High prevalence of post partum anemia among low income women in the United States. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 2001;185:438-43.