The nutrition of pregnant women is decisive in the course of
gestation and the health of both mother and child. However, in the
Spanish population, clinical monitoring of nutrition is rare, the
control of bodyweight receiving most attention. Many studies show
that pregnant women take too much fat and too little carbohydrate,
and that intakes of fibre and several trace elements are lower than
Although many people think they know what a correct (varied and
balanced) diet is, the concept is often misleading. Generally, they
do not match the ideal theoretical framework for achieving an
adequate energy profile of the diet. Neither do they facilitate
intakes of vitamins and minerals close to recommended levels.
Nutrition education programmes are therefore required to explain
adequate dietary guidelines to pregnant women, and indeed to all
women of childbearing age.
Considering the criteria suggested by a number of researchers
concerning the number of food portions from each food group that
pregnant women should include in their diets, the following
guidelines for daily consumption are proposed: 3–4 portions of milk
products, 2–3 portions of meat, fish or eggs, and 3 portions of
fruit, 4–5 portions of vegetables or greens and 7–8 portions of
cereals and legumes (a portion is defined as the amount of food that
would be found on an average plateful or the normal units of
consumption of a food).