Are you ready to dive into the world of pregnancy nutrition?
Well, we’re about to give you the lowdown on what to eat (and what to steer clear of) during pregnancy, to keep both you and your little one healthy and happy.
Fuelling Your Body - the power of nutrient-rich Foods
During pregnancy, your body needs extra goodness to help your growing baby and keep you feeling your very best! Here are a few superstar nutrients you’ve got to make friends with:
Folate and Folic Acid:
Think of folate as the superhero that helps your baby's brain and spine develop. Load up on leafy greens, citrus fruits, beans, and fortified cereals. And don't forget to ask your doctor about taking a folic acid supplement.
Iron is the ultimate energy booster and helps your body make more red blood cells. Grab some lean meats, beans, spinach, and fortified cereals to keep that iron pumping.
Strong bones and teeth are the name of the game here. Get your calcium fix from dairy products, fortified plant-based milks, leafy greens, and tofu. If you need a little boost, speak to your doctor who can recommend ways to top up your calcium, or suggest taking some calcium supplements.
Healthy Choices: Foods to Embrace During Pregnancy
Check out these super healthy choices:
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables:
Picture a plate bursting with colours like a rainbow. That's what you want! Munch on crisp carrot sticks, slice up juicy watermelon, or toss a handful of berries into your cereal bowl. There’s nothing better!
It’s time to ditch the white stuff and choose whole grains such as oats, brown rice, whole wheat bread, and quinoa. They are packed with fibre, vitamins, and minerals - just what you need to keep things moving.
Time to beef up that protein intake, but keep it lean. Think chicken, fish, eggs, beans, and tofu. They're the building blocks for your baby's growth. Just make sure your meats are cooked thoroughly and go easy on fish that is higher in mercury, such as tinned tuna.
Fats can be your friend, if you choose the right ones! Avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil are full of good fats that help your baby's brain develop. So grab that guacamole and get your healthy fat fix!
Now, hold up! There are a few foods that you should wave goodbye to for now.
Here's the lowdown on what to avoid during pregnancy:
Raw or Undercooked Meat, Fish, and Eggs:
Cooking your meat, fish, and eggs thoroughly is a must to eliminate any harmful bacteria from your diet.
Smoked fish and cold cured meat:
Cured meats are not cooked, so they may have parasites in them that could cause toxoplasmosis. It is best to avoid the likes of salami, pepperoni, chorizo and prosciutto unless they are cooked thoroughly. Similarly, smoked fish has been linked to a listeria outbreak which could cause serious infection. Only eat smoked fish if it has been thoroughly cooked and is steaming all the way through.
Liver and game:
Liver and liver products have lots of vitamin A in them which can be harmful to an unborn baby. And game such as pheasant and partridge should be avoided as they often contain lead shot.
Watch out for high-mercury fish like shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish. Instead, go for the low-mercury options like salmon, shrimp and trout. Be sure to limit yourself to two portions of oily fish per week. You should also be sure to limit yourself to no more than 2 tuna steaks, or 4 medium-size cans of tuna per week.
Unpasteurized Dairy Products and Soft Cheeses:
Say no to unpasteurized dairy products and soft cheeses where bacteria can be hiding. Skip the brie, feta, and blue cheese for now and opt for their pasteurised buddies.
Caffeine and Alcohol:
Time to hit the brakes on caffeine and wave bye-bye to alcohol. Keep your caffeine intake in check (no more than 200mg a day) and say no to alcohol altogether. Your baby's delicate system needs all the love and care it can get.
Your guide to caffeine:
100mg in a mug of instant coffee
140mg in a mug of filter coffee
75mg in a mug of tea (green tea can have the same amount of caffeine as regular tea)
40mg in a can of cola
80mg in a 250ml can of energy drink
Less than 25mg in a 50g bar of plain dark chocolate
Less than 10mg in a 50g bar of plain milk chocolate
You're now armed with the knowledge of pregnancy nutrition like a pro! Remember, fueling your body with the right stuff and avoiding potential risks will set you and your baby up for a healthy and happy journey. Load up on those nutrient-rich foods, make smart choices, and chat with your healthcare provider for personalised advice. You’ve got this Mama!