Having a nutritious diet during pregnancy is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your baby. What you eat is the main source of nutrition for your developing baby and this focus on good nutrition can prevent birth defects in the neonate. New research suggests that good nutrition in pregnancy may also modulate the risk of chronic disease in later life.
Speak with your obstetrician so you have guidelines to follow for your age and pre-pregnancy weight plus any other medical issues you may have.
- Grains: provides essential carbohydrates, fibre, iron, Vitamin B and minerals. Whole grains are best: oats, brown rice, quinoa, whole-wheat pasta and whole-grain bread. If you have a wheat intolerance then speaking with a nutritionist is recommended.
- Fruit and Vegetables: provide many vitamins, minerals plus fibre to aid digestion. Iron is absorbed through Vitamin C found in many fruit and vegetables. Vitamin A, iron and folate is found in dark green vegetables. Wash fruit and vegetable thoroughly to eliminate any bacteria
- Meat: Red meat, poultry, fish, eggs and legumes provide protein which is essential for your baby’s growth. B vitamins and iron are also plentiful. Ensure all meat is cooked through to the centre. Peanut butter on whole grain toast for breakfast, add chickpeas to salads, cooked salmon for dinner for example.
- Dairy products: provides calcium which builds your baby’s teeth and bones and also provide protein and Vitamin D. Snack on yoghurt, glass of milk with meals. Lactose free products are available for those with intolerances.
- Water: drink plenty of water each day as it may help prevent hemorrhoids, constipation, urinary tract infections and swelling. Drinking plenty of water also helps avoid early labour and helps with the production of your milk
- Supplements: be guided by your obstetrician who closely monitors your progress.
- Fish high in mercury such as: King Mackerel, Swordfish, Shark
- Uncooked fish: sushi, sashimi, oysters, smoked salmon etc.
- Undercooked meats
- Packaged and processed, fried and fast foods, pates
- Uncooked or undercooked eggs, anything that contains uncooked egg such as hollandaise sauce, and other dressings, raw batter etc. Cook eggs until yolks and white are firm and cooked through
- Raw sprouts: alfalfa, mung beans which may contain bacteria. They can be eaten cooked.
- Unpasteurised foods: Soft cheeses as Brie, camembert, feta, blue cheese unless labeled as being pasteurized and do not drink unpasteurized milk
- Alcohol: preferably none during pregnancy or 1 or 2 glasses per week
- Caffeine: recommend less than 200 mgs per day, coffee, tea, cola etc.
Your obstetrician will recommend supplements if required. If you are vomiting, losing weight or losing your appetite, speak with your obstetrician as soon as possible.