Pregnancy and Nutrition
Making the decision to plan for a baby is the ideal time to look carefully at your diet, health and lifestyle and to make a few simple changes that will achieve optimal health before conception.
Pregnancy specific supplements contain the recommended level of 400mcg folic acid and 10mcg vitamin D, plus the vitamins and minerals vital for mother and baby. These are suitable for conception, pregnancy and whilst breast feeding. Some also include Omega-3 which helps to support normal baby brain and eye development.
Kensington Midwives have recently noted the Pregnacare Plus dual pack combining the original Pregnacare tablet, which contains 19 essential vitamins and minerals, with pack of Omega-3 DHA capsules. There is also a liquid instead of the tablets, which is ideal for those who have difficulty swallowing tablets.
Healthy eating is particularly important during pregnancy and a balanced diet is by far the best. This includes a wide range of foods from 5 different food groups:
Starchy carbohydrates – bread, breakfast cereals, rice and potatoes etc.
Fruit and vegetables
Dairy foods – milk, cheese, yogurts etc.
Protein – meat, chicken, fish, beans, nuts, soya etc
Foods containing fat and sugar.
Healthy eating during pregnancy is actually no different from eating healthily at any other time, more fruit and vegetables and starchy carbohydrate foods, moderate amounts of dairy and protein foods and just a few fatty and sugary foods.
Remember that your immune system may be slightly less effective during pregnancy, leaving you more vulnerable to tummy bugs and upsets, which may be dangerous for your baby, so extra care is needed when preparing food. Wash fruit, vegetables and salads thoroughly, make sure eggs are thoroughly cooked, cook all meat and chicken thoroughly and remember to have a list of the foods that you should not eat during pregnancy. These are either unsuitable because of the way they are produced or they have high levels of certain nutrients or substances which are best avoided during pregnancy.
Try to be active and maintain a healthy weight. The average pregnancy weight gain is 10 – 12kg or 22 – 28lbs, if your pre-pregnancy weight is in the normal range. It is important to avoid dieting as this can limit your baby’s access to nutrition, so try hard to eat well, particularly iron rich foods such as all meat, fortified breakfast cereals, beans, chick peas, eggs, dried fruit, nuts and seeds. Iron contributes to the normal formation of red blood cells and haemoglobin. Haemoglobin transports oxygen in red blood cells and anaemia, not enough haemoglobin, is common in pregnancy.