A healthy balanced diet is very important during pregnancy, says nutritionist, Sarah Keogh. Following the food pyramid guidelines will help to ensure you are getting everything you need.
This is one of the most important nutrients for a growing baby – and mother! All of the baby’s muscles, bones and internal organs need enough protein to grow and you will need protein for the placenta, the extra blood you are going to make and for your expanding womb. Protein is found in meat, chicken, fish, eggs and cheese as well as beans and lentils. You will pick up extra protein if you snack on yoghurt, cheese or drink some milk.
Your baby is going to need plenty of calcium, especially towards the end of your pregnancy, to grow bones. If you don’t eat enough calcium, your baby will happily take it from your bones, leaving you at risk for osteoporosis later in life. So look after your bones and your baby’s by adding in plenty of milk, yoghurt and hard cheese like cheddar or Edam. By your fifth month, you need three servings of dairy everyday.
3. Fruit and vegetables
These are essential for vitamins and antioxidants, which are vital for a growing baby and for your own energy levels. Aim to have some fruit or vegetables at every meal: banana on breakfast cereal, tomatoes in your sandwich at lunch and plenty of vegetables or salad at dinner. Snack on fruit or a fruit smoothie.
4. Bread, cereals and potatoes
These will give you much needed calories and fibre. Include some rice, pasta or potatoes at dinner and some bread at lunch. A high fibre breakfast cereal will help you avoid constipation, which can turn up as your pregnancy progresses. Look for cereals with at least 6g of fibre per 100g.
This is one of the most important foods to eat for your baby. Oil-rich fish like salmon, trout, mackerel, herring and sardines are rich in omega-3 fats, which are essential for a baby’s brain and eye development. Studies show that children whose mothers ate fish while pregnant grow up to be more sociable, have better reading skills and are generally better behaved as they get older. So far the studies have tracked the children to the age of eight and the benefits are still being seen. Women who ate fish at least three times a week showed the greatest benefit. Although you do need to avoid shark, swordfish, and marlin while pregnant, all other fish are fine. Just keep tuna to twice a week, but go ahead with any other fish you like.
Source: Sarah Keogh, Nutritional Consultant, Eatwell