Pregnancy is a crucial stage in a woman's life when the body undergoes important physical and hormonal changes. The way of nourishment determines the health of the mother and the fetus (Arrish, Yeatman & Williamson, 2014). Moreover, the food taken by the mother is the only source of nourishment and therefore, the nutrition during pregnancy is vital for the mother and her baby. The proper nutrition would promote overall development of the baby and ensure physical and mental well-being. During pregnancy, around 300 extra calories are required for the maintenance of pregnancy. A healthy balanced diet is important for the mother to minimize the risks in pregnancy. Therefore, the nutrition during pregnancy is important and its proper administration promotes physical and mental well-being of the mother and the baby.
The still birth is rare in Canada. As per 2013 reports, 4.5 out of 1000 births found to be stillbirths. Keeping in mind the percentage of stillbirths, Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) in Canada is the first province to create a strategy that combats stillbirths and promote health and nutrition during pregnancy. The heath promotion during pregnancy is a challenge for the health professionals and inculcating good food habits in mother would promote good fetal health. Many women do not eat a proper health diet during pregnancy that would lead to complications in pregnancy and poor development of the fetus. The protein intake is important during pregnancy to replenish the metabolic needs during pregnancy and promote growth of fetal tissues (Steenweg-de Graaff et al., 2014). It could also cause low body weight during of the infants during birth. The fetal brain development could also be affected by the poor nutrition in mother. There is also requirement of essential vitamins like vitamin D and minerals in the maternal food diet (Lucas, Charlton & Yeatman, 2014). Therefore, it is important to provide adequate knowledge to the patients about the importance of nutrition during pregnancy by the nurses. The intervention strategies or the knowledge of the nurses would help to make the patients benefit by leading a healthy life during pregnancy. The nurse would help the patients to understand the importance of proper planning and preparation in making healthy food choices. The nurse would encourage her to create a detailed menu chart and shopping list that would contain healthy food items. The nurse should also explain to the pregnant lady about the way of washing and cooking food. The pregnant ladies suffer from morning sickness and there is rarely time for meal planning and preparation (Gaston & Prapavessis, 2014). They should be encouraged to fix their meal time and options for preparing time-saving foods. The patients should be educated and assessed about importance of fluids, food supplements, prenatal vitamins and other pregnancy needs.
The assessment techniques used by the nurses to assess the nutrition during pregnancy are interviews, laboratory test reports and physical examination during the prenatal test. For the better assessment, the nurse needs to know the complete health history of the mother, previous pregnancies, psychosocial profile, family profile, medical history, diagnostic tests and risk assessment (O'Connor et al., 2016). The interview consists of the woman’s description of her health status and the nurse’s observation of her posture, skin color, body language and her psychosocial aspects. Moreover, the nurse also gathers information about her experiences about her current pregnancy, gynecologic history that includes menstrual and contraceptive history. The medical history is also important including past surgeries, hypertension, diabetes and medications taken by her. The nutritional history is vital as it is directly proportional to the fetus growth and development (Poston et al., 2013). The nurse through interview gathers information about her diet practices, eating behaviors, style of cooking, food allergies and related nutritional facts.
After the assessment, the mother should be educated about healthy nutrition. The nurse plays an important role in educating the patient about health nutrition. The patient needs to know about the benefits of consuming a healthy, balanced diet during pregnancy. The consumption of proteins to promote proper fetus development, fatty acids, fibers, folic acid to prevent birth defects, calcium, vitamin D, iron and other supplements that ensure complete well-being of the mother and the fetus (Bhutta et al., 2013). For this, the nurse has to provide proper training and education about the dietary needs and make sure that she understands completely. The nurse would develop a diet for the pregnant mother and refer her to a nutritionist or a dietician to meet the patient’s needs. The change theory of nursing by Kurt Lewin could be applied in this context where three stages occur (Burnes & Cooke, 2013). The first stage is the unfreezing stage where patients find a new way to an old pattern. The second stage is the change stage where the patients make a new movement as a change in thoughts and nutrition pattern and finally the refreezing stage where patient adopts this change as a new habit as the standardized procedure.
The nutrition during pregnancy is a vital aspect and the mother’s diet decides the growth and development of the fetus. The mother’s diet is the only source of food for the fetus; therefore, it is important for the mother to consume a balance and nutritious diet that promotes good health of fetus. Promoting health among the expecting mothers is a challenge for the health professionals and they need to be educated about the benefits of proper nutrition during pregnancy. The nurses play an important role during this phase and their way of training an education is vital. The prenatal visits assess the nutrition of the pregnant mothers and help them to adopt proper nutrition required for the fetus. Therefore, it is important to teach the patients about nutritional benefits during pregnancy that would ensure proper development and growth of the fetus.
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Lucas, C., Charlton, K. E., & Yeatman, H. (2014). Nutrition advice during pregnancy: do women receive it and can health professionals provide it?. Maternal and child health journal, 18(10), 2465-2478.
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