Pregnancy Nutrition

August 30, 2016

Although pregnancy is an exciting and life changing time, it can often be confusing when it comes to knowing how to best take care of yourself and you new baby.

Good nutrition during pregnancy is vital for both you and your growing baby. By eating well and looking after your health you can give your little one the best start to life before he or she has even entered the world.

Nutrients to Remember During Pregnancy

Iron

During pregnancy iron requirements increase significantly to help meet your growing baby’s needs. You should include plenty of iron rich foods in your diet to prevent iron deficiency. Good sources of iron include red meat, pork, chicken and fish. Iron can also be found in green leafy vegetables, legumes and iron-fortified cereals.

Folate/ Folic acid

Folate or Folic acid is particularly important for growth and development and to reduce the risk of neural tube defects in babies. Folate can be found in green leafy vegetables, legumes and fruit such as broccoli, spinach, bananas, citrus fruits and berries. It is recommended by the National Health ad Medical Research Council that in additional to including dietary sources of folate, you should use a 400-microgram folic acid supplement from 1 month to 3 months after you fall pregnant.

Iodine

Iodine is another important nutrient you should supplement in your diet as it is essential for your baby’s growth and brain development. In addition to including good dietary sources of iodine, it is recommended pregnant women consume a 150-microgram supplement. Food sources of iodine include eggs, seafood, iodine fortified bread and vegetables.

Vegetarian/Vegan Diets

As vegetarian or vegan, it is particularly important to ensure you are getting enough vitamin B12 and protein, as these are foods commonly found in animal food sources.

Vegetarian food sources of vitamin B12 include dairy foods such as milk, cheese and yoghurt and foods fortified with vitamin B12 including meat analogues, veggie burgers and some soymilk. For those who follow a vegan diet or if you do not eat these foods often you may need supplementation. You should consult your health professional if you are concerned.

Vegetarian sources of protein include legumes such as chickpeas, lentils and beans, tofu/ tempeh, soy milk, soy cheese, nuts, dairy foods and wholegrains.

Foods To Avoid

There is no special diet you need to go on during your pregnancy. However, there are certain foods you will need to avoid as they may contain bacteria known as listeria and salmonella. This can potentially make you or your baby ill if consumed.

Foods that may be contaminated with listeria include the following:

Dairy and eggs:

Soft and semi- soft cheeses such as camembert, brie, soft blue cheeses, ricotta, fetta etc.

Soft serve and fried ice-cream, unpasteurised milk, raw eggs, foods prepared using raw egg such as home-made pancake batter, cake or biscuit batter, mayonnaise and aioli.

Meat, Poultry and Seafood:

You should avoid processed and cold cut meats such as ham, salami and cold cut chicken or turkey. Pate, raw seafood and sushi should also be avoided.

Fruit and vegetables:

Pre-packaged and pre-prepared salads and sandwiches including fruit salads and raw or lightly cooked bean sprouts such as alfalfa sprouts, mung beans and radish sprouts.

If you are unsure certain not listed here consult you healthcare professional.

A Word About Fish

Fish is a great source protein and iodine and contains omega-3 oils to assist with your baby’s brain and eye development. Some fish contain mercury, which can be harmful to your baby if consumed in high amounts. It is important you follow Food Standards Australia and New Zealand’s (FSANZ) safe guidelines for fish intake prevent any harmful side affects.

You can find these guidelines on the following link: http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/consumer/chemicals/mercury/pages/default.aspx

Pregnancy and alcohol

When it comes to alcohol, your safest option is to avoid consuming alcohol altogether during your pregnancy. Alcohol travels through your bloodstream can result in serious negative health impacts on your growing foetus.

Pregnancy and caffeine

There is limited evidence on the effects of caffeine during pregnancy so it is best to consume these drinks in moderation. Caffeine should be limited to 200mg per day. This is equal to 3-4 cups of instant coffee (or 2 cups of coffee made with ground coffee beans) or 4 cups of tea.

How much extra to eat

It is a popular belief that pregnant women should be eating for two. In fact you do not need to eat any extra kilojoules/ calories during your first trimester at all.

During your second trimester an extra 1400 kilojoules per a day is all you need to accommodate for your growing baby. This is equal to an extra apple, one 200g tub of yoghurt and 2-3 plain crackers. During your third trimester an extra 1900kilojoules per day will be adequate. This is equal to adding an extra piece of fruit such as a banana on top of the food or snacks added during your second trimester.

FEEDING GUIDE:

To prepare one serve

Age Cooled boiled water (ml) Level scoops of powder* Serves per a day
12 month + 200 2 1-2
*One scoop is equal to 7g