There is numerous evidence that shows well rounded excellent maternal nutrition makes for a healthy mother and baby. When the nutrition is lacking, the mother is more likely to experience problems with the pregnancy, and the baby is more likely to have issues.
The first step to take towards nourishment for you and your baby is to commit to eating well. This commitment allows you to freely make healthy choices.
Small regular meals are the best way to eat whilst pregnant. As well as offering constant nutrients and energy, eating this way can also help combat morning sickness and fatigue.
Protein needs are greatly increased during pregnancy. This is because proteins provide the raw materials for making your baby’s body, hormones, the placenta, breast milk etc. Protein is found largely in meats, eggs, dairy, nuts and seeds, legumes and organic tofu/soy products. 4 serves of protein daily is the minimum during pregnancy
Carbohydrates are also important during pregnancy, as they provide the main energy source for our bodily functions. Complex carbohydrates are the best form to eat, as they keep your blood sugar stable and allow you to absorb the range of nutrients in the food you’ve just eaten. Complex carbohydrates include whole grains (oats, brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat etc), fruits and vegetables. 4 to 6 serves daily during pregnancy
Fats are also essential during pregnancy, because they offer up essential fat soluble nutrients. These include A, D, E and K. Fat is also important for the formation of cells, skin, healthy blood, a healthy nervous system and brain, liver and bile production among other things. Excellent sources of healthy fats include fish, avocadoes, nuts and seeds, organic dairy and lean meats. Flaxseed oil and evening primrose oil are also great sources of fatty acids. 2 servings daily of healthy fats during pregnancy
Vitamins and Minerals are also needed in abundance. They are best found in fruits and vegetables. Green leafy vegetables, berries, bright coloured fruits and vegies offer up vitamins and minerals in easily absorbable forms. 5 plus servings daily during pregnancy of vegetables (include greens daily), and at least 2 of fruit.
Rather than sticking to a strict diet or regime whilst pregnant, it is best to consume a wide variety of healthy foods. It is particularly important to include a protein source with each meal, and to ensure you consume adequate wholegrains, vegetables and fruits.
It is important whilst pregnant that your body gets all of the nutrients required to maintain energy, support you and create a healthy baby. Ideally all of our nutrients come from a healthy well balanced diet, but it’s not always possible to eat enough whilst pregnant, nor absorb enough from the foods that you are eating. Taking a supplement fills in the gaps of optimal nutrient intake that may not be covered by your diet.
Speak to your naturopath or health care provider to make sure you get an optimal pregnancy supplement that is ideal for you. The supplement you do choose ideally will contain iodine, folate, B12 and the other B vitamins, iron, zinc, calcium and magnesium.
Foods to Avoid
Some foods are best avoided whilst you are pregnant, due to their risk of contamination and bacteria which can harm your unborn baby. These foods include:
- Deli meats
- Salads from salad bars
- Uncooked eggs or runny egg yolks
- Soft cheeses
- Unpasteurised dairy
- Uncooked fish or meats (ensure they are always well cooked)