Eating During Pregnancy

As a birth doula I am always asked questions regarding diet during pregnancy. You want to make sure that you and your baby are getting a nutritiously balanced diet, yet there is so much information regarding what to eat and what not to eat. There are tips and advice on the latest ‘superfoods’ for the growing foetus and with all this information comes confusion, so I thought I’d help weave you through the advice on whats best for you and your baby.

A common saying that ‘a woman is eating for two while pregnant’. This implies that a mother should consume twice as much during pregnancy. However, in reality this is not true. You do not need to radically change your diet. Until your last 8-10 weeks of pregnancy you do not need to eat more than you were doing when you conceived. After 30 weeks your body only requires the equivalent of one banana or half a sandwich a day extra.

The truth is we all know which foods are healthy; whole fresh food rather than refined and processed meals will be so much more beneficial for you and your baby. Essentially your body needs more protein and vegetables and less refined carbs such as pasta and biscuits. It is important to eat a variety of different foods every day to get the right balance of nutrients that you and your baby need. It is best to get vitamins and minerals from the foods you eat, such as vitamin c in broccoli, citrus fruits, tomatoes, bell peppers, and blackcurrants, calcium in dairy products and fish with edible bones and iron in lean meat, green leafy vegetables, dried fruit, and nuts. Vitamin D can be found naturally in oily fish (such as salmon, mackerel and sardines), eggs and meat.

You should take a 400 microgram folic acid tablet every day while you are trying to get pregnant and until you are 12 weeks pregnant. If you didn’t take folic acid before you conceived, you should start as soon as you find out that you are pregnant.

It’s fine to eat small meals if you are feeling nauseous. Don’t worry about how much food you are eating, just eat what you can, your baby will be fine and once this nauseous phase has passed you will have be able to eat regular health meals ­– you are already doing a wonderful job.

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