Diet in Pregnancy
A healthy diet in pregnancy should provide all the vitamins and minerals you need. However, one supplement is necessary. Studies show that three months before and after conception extra folic acid, one of the most important B group vitamins, should be taken. A high amount of folic acid in your diet and taken as a supplement, can significantly reduced the risk of having a baby with one of the birth conditions known as neural tube defects, principally spina bifida and anencephaly.
A natural way to increase the level of folic acid is by including more of the following foods in your diet: leafy green vegetables, broccoli, brussel sprouts, okra, beans, whole wheat bread, cereals, pasta, citrus fruit, bananas, chic peas and lentils, milk, yogurt, hard cheese, yeast and malt extracts.
Remember to eat enough protein, which is vital for developing new body tissue. Protein is found in fish meat, eggs, milk, cheese, grains, nuts and pulses.
Unrefined carbohydrates are vital for energy and are found in potatoes, brown rice, whole wheat bread, pasta, flour and cereals. Refined carbohydrates, found in white bread, white rice, cakes and sweets add calories without providing much energy, so beware of these.
Vitamins and minerals are also vital to the body, calcium for bones and teeth, iron for healthy iron-sufficient blood, iodine, magnesium and zinc for a well functioning body and healthy pregnancy. Vitamin rich foods include fresh fruits and vegetable, which could be eaten raw or steamed, as boiling can lower their vitamin content. Vitamins are also found in fish, meat, milk, cereals and whole grain bread.
Essential fatty acids are necessary for development and growth, and are found in plant and fish oils. Also remember that fibre aids digestion and helps to prevent constipation.
Kensington Midwives’s tip is not to eat more than 200 to 300 calories more than you would normally eat, which is usually between 1500 and 2000 calories a day. It is not necessary to eat for two during pregnancy, but it is important to have enough of all the nutrients necessary to give birth to a healthy baby and have enough energy to meet the demands of pregnancy.