INTRODUCTIONProper and balanced diet is always important more so in pregnant women. Although the diet of pregnant women is the same as that in adult but with some restrictions and supplementations. Studies showed that fetal growth is associated with maternal diet, however, there is no epidemiological evidence how maternal growth is influenced by the diet. During pregnancy itself it is important to consider the well-being and maternal health, the health of the newborn baby, and the welfare of the mother’s ability to provide adequate care and proper nutrients. One study showed that maternal diet is an important determinant in the fetal growth and placental weight.
But other study reveals that the effects of maternal diet are not much appreciated in industrialized countries than it is in developing countries. The fetal weight of 3.1 – 3.6 kg serves as the basis of having optimum maternal and fetal outcomes. A lower birth weight can be associated with higher mortality and morbidity, as well as increased of risk diseases later in life. While the effects of some micronutrients such as iodine in pregnancy has been long recognized other vitamins and minerals have just become recently appreciated.
It is the objective of this paper to bring about and compare different micronutrients taken before and during pregnancy and how can these affect the outcome of birth based on several studies. DIFFERENT VITAMINS AND MINERALS AND ITS EFFECTS IN THE OUTCOME OF BIRTHIron International and national bodies have recommended the use of iron in pregnant women. It seemed that it has been made a part of the standard of care during pregnancy. Lack of iron results in anemia which could be very fatal if there are complications in giving birth such as hemorrhage.
Supplemental intake of iron shows an increase in iron reserves and reduces anemia. A trial study for the use of iron as supplemental during pregnancy in a developing country showed a marked reduction in fetal loss and neonatal mortality. Folic acidFolic acid has been recommended by most obstetricians and gynecologists as a supplement for women who want to have a baby. It is said to have an important effect in preparing a woman’s reproductive organs by preventing congenital malformations as well as complications during pregnancy.
It is usually taken in combination with iron. From a study in a developing country, limited data showed that folic acid reduces the incidence of low birth weight and improve fetal growth. It is also established that folic acid supplementation prevents neural tube defects in the fetus. When not prevented or there is a deficiency in folate the most common neural tube defects include anencephaly which could result in stillbirth and spina bifida which has a wide range of physical disorders including but not limited to partial or complete paralysis.
The mechanism on how folate supplementation reduces the risk on neural tube defects was not clearly established, but it was emphasized in the recent study conducted by Wald (2000) that it is very important to take folate supplementation before pregnancy otherwise it will be too late if it