Pregnancy Nutrition Guide: What To Eat During Pregnancy

Pregnancy Nutrition Guide: What To Eat During Pregnancy

We all need to eat a healthy diet, but when you’re pregnant, it becomes even more important for the well-being and development of your unborn baby.

Pregnancy nutrition can be a confusing topic – some things you need to eat more of, some things you need to eat less of, and some things you can’t eat at all! If you’re wondering what you can and can’t eat during pregnancy, here are some tips.

Pregnancy Nutrition Guide- What do I need more of?

Just because you’re eating for two doesn’t mean you need to eat twice as much. In fact, at the beginning or your pregnancy, your baby is so tiny that your pre-pregnancy food intake is sufficient for the first trimester. During the second and third trimesters, however, you’ll find that your appetite increases as your body begins to require more energy to support your growing baby.

There are certain vitamins and minerals that are important to your baby’s development. Your diet should contain foods that are rich in folate, iron, iodine and vitamin A. Try to eat a good balance of the following:

  • Fruit, vegetables of various colours, and legumes such as chickpeas and lentils
  • Grain products such as wholegrain bread, pasta, rice, quinoa and couscous
  • Dairy products including milk, hard cheeses, and yoghurt – go for low-fat options
  • Protein-rich foods like fish, poultry, lean beef, pork or lamb, tofu and nuts

You should also aim for a water intake of at least eight glasses a day because it helps your body absorb all the essential nutrients from your food and deliver them to your baby.

What do I need less of?

Sometimes those famous pregnancy cravings can have you longing for all sorts of treats, but you need to keep an eye on your consumption of several things:

  • Saturated fat – found in fatty meat, full fat milk, butter, lard and some oils. If you’re unsure, try the rule of thumb that if it’s solid at room temperature, it’s probably a saturated fat.
  • Trans-fat – usually found in fried foods, some kinds of butter substitutes, and processed packaged foods. Check the nutritional information panels when grocery shopping. They must state how much trans-fat is in a product.
  • Refined sugar – eating too much hinders your ability to absorb some of the vital vitamins and minerals that you need during pregnancy. It can also upset the balance of your intestinal bacteria, leading to stomach discomfort and upset.
  • Salt – while about a teaspoon a day (2400mg) is necessary both before and during pregnancy, too much salt can cause water retention and swelling in your face, hands and feet. Because it’s found naturally in many foods, added salt lurking in pre-made groceries can easily put you over the daily limit. Check the nutritional information labels when you’re shopping.

 

What foods should I avoid?

When you’re pregnant, you need to be especially careful to avoid being infected with bacteria like Listeria and Salmonella, which can be present in some kinds of foods. Hormonal changes during pregnancy make you less able to fight these kinds of infections, and they can be fatal to an unborn baby. Commonly, doctors advise that you avoid soft cheeses, processed meats, cold cooked chicken, pre-prepared salads and fruits, pâté, soft-serve ice-cream and raw seafood. For a full list, visit The Department of Primary Industries website.

You should also avoid all alcohol during pregnancy. There is no known safe level of consumption. Drinking alcohol while pregnant places your baby at a higher risk of miscarriage, birth defects, low birth weight, and fetal alcohol syndrome.

By following these diet guidelines, you can be assured you’re making a positive contribution to a safe and happy pregnancy.