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Nutrition Throughout the Lifecycle by Elizabeth Eilender

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CHAPTER 2

Nutrition for a Healthy Pregnancy

Introduction

At no other time in the human life cycle are growth and development more rapid and dramatic than during pregnancy. A normal pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks (from the start of the last menstrual period to birth). An infant born before the 37th week of pregnancy is considered to be preterm. Pregnancy begins with a single fertilized egg that grows into a fully developed newborn weighing on an average 3,500 g. During this period of gestation (which is commonly divided into trimesters of about 13 weeks each), maternal nutrient needs significantly increase in order to support the demands of the fetus. If the mother’s nutrient intake is inadequate to meet these demands, fetal growth and development ...

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