Nutritional problems during pregnancy and suggested solutions

Pregnancy is a physiological process and brings many facts and changes with it. This phase is a demanding process and requires careful and regular follow-up care and treatment. Diet is an important step in the health of the baby, both for development and health, and for the continued health of the mother. Because of this, nutritional issues during pregnancy are an important issue that shouldn’t be overlooked.

  • So what are the nutritional problems and solutions during pregnancy?

Nausea-vomiting, changes in taste and appetite

Morning sickness and vomiting, especially in the first trimester of pregnancy, occur in around half and even three quarters of pregnant women. Although the causes of these symptoms are not fully known; There are studies showing that various intense odors such as food, perfume and cigarette smoke can be triggers.

It is necessary to eat at short intervals (every two hours, etc.), avoid large amounts of food, dry foods such as cookies, crackers, toast and foods high in carbohydrates are better tolerated. Foods that cause nausea, fragrances, fatty foods (fried, etc.) should be avoided. Food and drinks should be consumed separately. Rest and fresh air are recommended. If symptoms are severe and persistent, prevent the person from doing daily activities; The medication should be initiated by the doctor.

Changes in taste and appetite are common during pregnancy. Some women experience an increase in appetite due to hormonal changes or the removal of energy substrates from the mother’s blood by the fetus.

  • Frequently seen foods and drinks that have undesirable effects include: There is tea and coffee, alcohol, fried foods. These foods should be avoided whenever possible.


Pica; It is a situation where non-food items like soap, charcoal, chalk, ashes, candles, and earth are coveted, coveted and eaten. Although the reasons for the development of this condition are not known exactly, there are studies that show that mineral deficiencies and high hormone levels are the cause. It progresses with morning sickness and is usually seen in the first trimester of pregnancy.


It is quite common for women to be constipated during pregnancy. There are many reasons that lead to constipation. Among the possible reasons; In addition to the physiological effects of pregnancy on gastrointestinal function, placental hormones, decreased activity, changes in diet, reducing drinking water in women to prevent frequent urination, taking dietary supplements and some iron supplements. It is recommended that pregnant women increase their fiber intake (especially whole grains), consume fresh, dried fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads, and drink plenty of fluids (especially water), and exercise gently to relieve the condition and increase peristalsis.

  • It should be remembered that it is a common problem in 11-38% of pregnant women, and it should not be forgotten that diet, diet, and lifestyle changes play important roles in recovery.


Anemia can be defined as a decrease in the ability of the blood to take up oxygen, which may be due to a decreased number of red blood cells, a low concentration of hemoglobin (Hb), or a combination of both. Anemia in pregnancy; affects both mother and fetus. The mother may experience symptoms such as difficulty breathing, fainting, tiredness, tachycardia (excessive heartbeat) and palpitations, all of which lead to decreased resistance to infection. Intrauterine hypoxia (low oxygen levels) and growth retardation may occur in the fetus.

Most cases of anemia during pregnancy are due to iron deficiency; it can also be linked to folate deficiency, blood loss, and hereditary diseases such as sickle cell anemia and thalassemia. In addition, inadequate food intake of iron, protein, vitamin C, and an increased need for iron can also cause symptoms of anemia.

Iron deficiency anemia is quite common during pregnancy. Towards the end of pregnancy, hemoglobin and ferritin levels may appear to decrease due to hemodilution and physiological changes, making it difficult to correctly diagnose anemia. Many women are prescribed iron supplements during pregnancy, although iron deficiency anemia can be difficult to diagnose. Iron supplements should be prescribed with caution as they can cause side effects such as nausea and constipation.

  • Foods rich in iron should be included in the diet and an adequate and balanced diet recommended. There are studies showing that pregnant women who do not take iron supplements are more likely to have premature birth.

Gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes (GDM) is one of the most common metabolic disorders in pregnancy and is generally seen in around 2% of pregnant women in the last trimester. Since symptoms may not be obvious, they are usually diagnosed by abnormal blood sugar levels following a glucose tolerance test. Glucose metabolism may return to normal or remain impaired after birth, and in some cases maternal type 2 diabetes may develop.

GDM is associated with an increased risk of perinatal morbidity and mortality. GDM is more common among women in Asia and the Middle East. It shows a high incidence in overweight and obese women as well as in women over 30 years of age and in low socio-economic groups. GDM increases macrosomia (birth weight> 4.5 kg) in the child and therefore increases the risk of complications in both the mother and the fetus, as it also increases the possibility of labor difficulties. It increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in both mother and child. The risk can be reduced by maintaining a healthy weight, following regular physical activity, and eating a healthy and balanced diet.

  • If GDM is diagnosed during pregnancy, treatment should aim to control blood sugar levels, with additional fetal monitoring to reduce the incidence of macrosomia. Although diet regimen is usually sufficient, insulin therapy may sometimes be needed. Since many women with GDM are overweight or obese, excessive dietary weight gain should be avoided.

Heartburn burns

Consumption of large and heavy meals, gas, stomach pressure, consumption of bothersome and stimulating foods, etc. This is a situation that can arise for reasons. Food should be consumed as small meals, small and frequent meals should be taken, food should be consumed slowly, chewed well, spicy and acidic foods and drinks should be used, the head should be raised while sleeping, bend over after meals If possible, no movement should be made and the food should not be eaten late at night.

Hyperemesis Gravidarum

As a result of persistent excessive vomiting during pregnancy; Dehydration, acidosis, weight loss, jaundice, etc. It is a condition characterized by conditions that lead to a deterioration in metabolism in pregnant women. Although the exact cause is not known, there are studies that suggest it is hormonal or psychological.


It is a type of high blood pressure disorder that occurs during pregnancy. Diseases such as proteinuria, disorders of other organ systems, and edema can be co-curricular in the disease. In severe cases, serious problems can arise for both mother and baby. A diet program that requires regular follow-up should be used. Salt intake should be limited, protein should be as much as necessary, and excessive weight gain should be prevented by keeping weight control within the ideal range. Necessary vitamin and mineral supplements should be made.


It is the softening and deterioration of the mother’s bone tissue as a result of vitamin D deficiency that occurs for reasons such as insufficient intake of minerals such as calcium and phosphorus during pregnancy and insufficient use of sunlight, as well as the use of these vitamins -minerals, which are little stored for the baby’s bone formation.


Due to various vitamin-mineral deficiencies (calcium, fluoride, etc.) as a result of an inadequate and unbalanced diet, the tendency to over-acidify the mouth, especially after vomiting in the first months of pregnancy, and the saliva content changes with pregnancy, the teeth become sensitive and prone to tooth decay. comes. Teeth should be brushed regularly, the mouth should be rinsed thoroughly after each vomiting, milk and dairy products should be included in the diet.

Ferenc Banhidy Ph.D., NA (2009). Iron Deficiency Anemia: Pregnancy Outcomes With Or Without Iron Supplementation.

Özalper, B. (2014). Diet in Pregnancy. Mus Alparslan University Science Journal, 275-276.

Tannys Vause, PM (2006). Diet for healthy pregnancy outcomes. Nutrition, Alberta Health and Wellness, Population Health Strategies, Edmonton, AB, Canada, Jan.

Williamson, CS (2006). Diet during pregnancy. British Nutrition Foundation, 51-52.

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