Studies show that the better a pregnant woman’s nutrition, the more likely she is to deliver a healthy baby. Eating too little (or too little of the needed foods) increases the risk of giving birth to a baby who may be born too soon or too small, have birth defects, or have breathing and blood chemistry problems at birth. Poor prenatal nutrition increases the risk of problems ranging from stillbirth to developmental delay, as well as increasing your chances of morning sickness, constipation and fatigue, heartburn and muscle cramps, and obstetrical complications, such as anemia, toxemia, a more difficult delivery, and a greater chance of needing a cesarean section.
Think of your pregnancy as a baby-building process. You yourself need energy – calories to do the building. This energy comes from fats and carbohydrates. Then you need the right mix of materials for a solid structure — proteins, vitamins, iron, other minerals, and water. If, in building your baby you don’t have enough energy the work doesn’t get done. If you don’t use the right mix of materials, the building isn’t constructed well. All you have to do is provide enough energy and make the right materials available.