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Nurses Writing Patient Education Materials

Writing patient  educational materials can be a great niche for nurses who love to write and a natural means to grow a freelance career as a nurse writer.  The following article, Nutrition in Pregnancy, by Melissa Murphy RN, is a great example of solid patient education.

Patient Education

Patient education is a huge part of nursing. Education can begin with the physician or other practitioner, but the major portion of the education falls to the nurses. Be sure to go over the materials with the patient to ensure they understand. Patient education is best when it’s interactive and not just handing the patient something to read. Healthcare literacy is maximized when the nurse ensure the patient comprehends the education.

Clear, concise information is essential. Patients usually learn and retain information better if they understand the why and how as well. Using layman’s terms is also beneficial as medical jargon is usually foreign to the patient. What can be helpful, is to include a few terms that relate to the topic and define them in simpler terms so the patient understands.

Resources, especially those that are current, help to build credibility for the author. Be sure to include some resources that will be helpful to the patient as well.

Nutrition in Pregnancy

Whether you have been planning a pregnancy or  find  yourself with a beautiful surprise pregnancy, it is important to follow a healthy, nutrient-rich diet throughout the pregnancy. Good nutrition in pregnancy is

linked to healthy birth weight, improved survival rate  for the mother and baby, and setting the child up for better health later in life.

Let’s break down a nutrient-dense diet to discover what each category does for a baby’s development, and approximately how much of each source is needed for your nutrition during pregnancy. Of course, it is always important to consult with your physician on any special diet you follow as well as any vitamins and supplements you may need.


The main energy source for your brain and body are carbohydrates. While pregnant, the glucose from the carbohydrates is used to grow a healthy baby. The daily recommended intake during pregnancy is 175 grams. It is important to choose high-quality natural carbohydrates, such as fruits, non-starchy vegetables, whole grains, peas, beans, lentils, low-fat dairy, and fruits.

Limit foods with added sugars such as those found in juices, table sugar, and honey, high fructose corn syrup, candies, desserts and sugary beverages.


The current daily recommendation during pregnancy is 75-100 grams. Protein helps increase the needed blood flow during pregnancy along with the development of uterine and breast tissue in the mother while it aids in the growth of fetal tissues including the brain. Two to three servings of meat, approximately three ounces, or about the size of a deck of cards, is a good way to work on meeting this goal. Nuts, seeds, tofu, eggs, cheese, yogurt, and legumes are other good sources of protein to include in your diet.


There is currently no specific daily recommended fat intake for pregnant women. Most physicians suggest following the current American guidelines which indicate maintaining  a total dietary fat intake between 25-35% of total daily calories.

An increase in “good fats” known as omega-3 fatty acids should be consumed while limiting trans fatty acids. A good source of omega-3 is found in fish. The suggested intake is approximately 8-12 ounces a week. It is essential to make sure to find fish low in mercury. Never consume raw fish (i.e sushi) during pregnancy.


As we all know water is an important part of life so of course during pregnancy you want to continue to drink plenty. Typically adults who consume a 2,000-calorie diet would need 2,000 -3,000 ml of water a day. It is suggested beginning in the second trimester, women eat an additional 300 healthy calories; therefore, they should also drink an extra 300 ml of water daily.

Occasional consumption of sugary drinks such as fruit juices and non-caffeinated sodas is permitted, but they are full of empty calories. Caffeine should be avoided as it can cause an increase in miscarriage.

During pregnancy maintaining a nutrient-rich diet is crucial for both the mother’s and the baby’s health and well-being. By following recommended guidelines for carbohydrate, protein, fat and water intake, expecting mothers can support healthy development, ensure adequate nutrition, and reduce the risk of complications.

Remember, it’s essential to consult with your  healthcare provider to personalize dietary recommendations based on your individual needs and any existing health conditions. With proper nutrition in pregnancy and guidance, mothers can nurture their growing babies and pave the way for a healthy start to life.


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