Yummy Mummies: Nutrition Highlights during Pregnancy

pregnantFollowing a balanced diet is not only important but also essential during pregnancy. Your growing baby has special nutrient needs and places extra demand on your body, hence, consuming a well balanced diet is important. During pregnancy you have increased nutritional requirements, especially for protein, calcium, iron and folate (folic acid). It may not always be possible to meet these increased needs so check with your doctor or dietitian whether supplements will be required.

Apart from following general healthy eating guidelines, here is a list highlighting the essential nutrients that you should include on a daily basis:

Iron is used to form new red blood cells, both in you and your baby. It is best absorbed from animal foods such as red meat, chicken and fish. Vegetable based foods such as legumes, wholegrain breads and cereals, nuts and green leafy vegetables also contain iron, although it is not as well absorbed.  For this reason, include vitamin C containing foods to enhance iron absorption by your body.

Folate is a B vitamin that plays an important role in the very early stages of pregnancy. Folate is essential for preventing neural tube defects such as Spina Bifida which occurs when your baby’s spinal cord fails to close all the way while in the womb. It is also important later in pregnancy for the growth of new red blood cells. Foods rich in folate include green vegetables (broccoli, green beans, peas, avocado, asparagus) fruit, vegemite and wholegrain breads and cereals. Folate is destroyed by heat, so lightly steam or microwave vegetables rather than boiling them.

Calcium You and your baby need Calcium for development of strong bones and teeth. It also ensure that your circulatory, muscular and nervous systems function properly. Good sources of calcium include milk and dairy products. Many breakfast cereals and fruit juices are enriched with calcium, so such options could be included.

Protein is essential for growth and development of the fetus. Make sure that you get enough protein by eating meat, chicken, fish, eggs, milk and dairy products, as well as plant-based sources such as dried beans, peas, lentils and soya.

Given that pregnancy is considered a fragile time in a woman’s life, infections such as listeriosis and illnesses can occur. For this reason, foods to be wary of and avoid include:

  • Raw Seafood and Shellfish
  • Undercooked meats and poultry
  • Brie, Feta, Camembert and Blue Cheese
  • Artificial sweeteners such as saccharin and cyclamates.
  • Alcohol
  • Cold foods at common salad bars
  • Caffeine in large amounts (no more than 2-3 caffeine containing beverages per day)

As a final word of advice: Plan your meals in advance in order to ensure that you and your family eat a balanced diet. Make sure you consume foods from all 5 major food groups: grains; vegetables and fruits; healthy fats; dairy foods; meats and legumes.

Wishing all the mummies- to-be a happy and healthy pregnancy!

  1. You have share such a useful tips . When you are pregnant, you have a higher need for some vitamins and minerals.

    Dr. Maureen Muoneke MD

  2. Reblogged this on ALLKNOL.

Leave a Reply