Whether you’re planning a pregnancy or already pregnant, what you eat can make a big difference to the health of you and your baby. But with so many guidelines, misinformation and anecdotal stories buried deep in the internet (or even simply passed on from a good-intentioned friend), it can be hard to know exactly what to eat (or not to eat) when you’ve got a bun in the oven. We’ve put together our top questions from clients we work with to highlight vital nutrition basics for pregnancy.
Should I eat more food when I’m pregnant?
Many people think that being pregnant means you’re eating for two, but unfortunately, that’s not the case. You see, in the first trimester, you don’t actually need any extra energy. It bumps up a little in the second trimester, to around 1400 extra kilojoules per day, and in the third, that quota is increased to 1900 extra kilojoules per day. In reality, that’s only the equivalent of an extra sandwich.
How do I meet these increased energy requirements but also optimise my nutrition to support a healthy baby and womb?
As you can see below some food serves you need to eat more of. We can help identify how many serves you are currently eating and how to practically achieve what you need!
What are the top nutrients essential to growing and sustaining a new life?
1. Folate – plays a crucial role in development and is protective against neural tube defects – so much so, that women who are planning a bub are recommended to take a supplement.
2. Iodine – key for development.
3. Iron – important for your baby’s blood stores.
4. Zinc – key for the development of our DNA.
The weighty debate: How much weight should I gain before conception?
As a guide, a woman with a healthy BMI before falling pregnant should gain between 11.5 and 16kg by the end of pregnancy. It’s different again if you are not at a healthy BMI! Of course, this is very individualised, so it’s important to seek individualised advice. Book in with one of our supportive and knowledgeable dietitians here.
What about food safety?
No soft cheese? What!? We empathise. There are many other foods too that are recommended to be avoided to be safe. But why? This is due to risk of contamination from bacteria and possible infection which can be harmful to the baby. Finding healthy and tasty substitutes can be tricky but not impossible. For example: Even though you are saying goodbye to camembert and brie for a while doesn't mean you have to avoid tasty cheese on some grainy crackers as a snack.
And there you have it! Common questions answered. Again, if you’re planning a pregnancy (or are already pregnant) – why not book in to see one of our Accredited Practising Dietitians for up to date, evidenced based and individualised advice.