baby2Good nutrition is essential during pregnancy as your baby is built from the nutrients you eat.  However, it is also worth highlighting the importance of stress reduction, keeping fit and taking a considerable amount of rest, together with good levels of hydration.  These areas are equally important in providing the emotional and physical nourishment the pregnant mother needs in order to provide optimally for their baby whilst in the womb

Beneficial Foods to Eat:

Here is a general outline of recommendations suggesting what to eat and drink during pregnancy:

  • At least 2 litres of still water per day
  • A good selection of wholegrain such as brown rice, quinoa, oats, spelt, rye, barley, millet, rye or whole-wheat bread
  • 2 to 3 pieces of fruit per day – always eat fruit on an empty stomach, never for pudding as it sits on top of food and ferments.  Try to aim for organic to avoid overloading on pesticides, insecticides and fertilisers
  • Lots of fresh vegetables – aim to eat a varied selection of fresh vegetables every day – between 60-75% of a plate of food.  If you can, include as much colour as possible and try to eat in season and organically where available; sweet potatoes, butternut squash, carrots, broccoli, tenderstem, kale, peas, celery, tomatoes, cabbage, red onions, courgette, artichokes, fennel, avocadoes, watercress, rocket are all good choices ………
  • Good protein – Raw nuts, seeds, beans peas, lentils, cooked eggs, quinoa, houmous, oats, milks (goat’s especially), sheep’s and goat’s cheese, free-range chicken, turkey and wild salmon
  • Calcium rich foods – sardines, yoghurt, and milk (goat’s or sheep’s are very high in calcium and bioavailable), wild salmon, hard cheese, cottage cheese, spinach, broccoli, kale, almonds organic dried apricots
  • Beneficial fats – DHA & EPA from marine source – especially wild salmon, avocadoes, nuts, olives, seeds, nut butters (avoid those with added palm oils and salt), fatty fish – herring, mackerel, sardines
  • Iron-rich foods – try to eat a good selection of these foods.  Two or three portions per day would be ideal to support the rapid growth of the baby and you; sardines, blackstrap molasses, jacket potatoes (eat the skin too), apricots, figs, watercress, rocket, lamb, beef, spring greens, kale, artichoke, broccoli, peas, hard boiled eggs

Foods to avoid:

  • Soft & unpasturised cheese; brie, camembert, feta, Mexican cheese, blue-veined cheese
  • Raw seafood; oysters, mussels, clams, sushi
  • Liver & all liver products; pate
  • Raw or partially cooked eggs
  • Raw or undercooked meat and poultry, cured hams such as Parma ham and salamis
  • Swordfish, Marlin or Shark, I would also recommend that tuna consumption is kept very low too
  • Alcohol – The Department of Health and Royal College of Obstetricians advise that pregnant women should not drink more than one to two units of alcohol once or twice per week
  • Caffeine – Limit the amount of caffeine you drink each day.  Caffeine affects the way your body absorbs iron which is very important for your baby’s development.  High levels can result in low birth weights or even miscarriage. Caffeine occurs naturally in foods, such as coffee, tea and chocolate. It’s also added to some soft drinks and energy drinks

A couple of lifestyle tips:

  • Rest – I can’t recommend this enough.  An exhausted body cannot function optimally, even without being pregnant.  However, during pregnancy rest becomes essential in order to provide everything you need to for your baby’s growth and development.  It is not a treat or a luxury, more of a necessity!
  • Fresh air – every day if possible.  A brisk walk provides good levels of oxygen to your body and your baby’s.  Good for your body, good for your heart, good for your mood = great for your baby

Sometimes during pregnancy, as well as providing good nutrients through the diet, it can be important to supplement with vitamins (such as folic acid) minerals and fish oils.  I would recommend you gain advice from a Nutritional Practitioner for further information, as any supplementation is very personal to the individual and must be identified by a professional.