A common thought when women become pregnant is…. If you are pregnant you can eat for two people right?
Indulging in excessive amount of calories because you think your bub is going to get hungry is just a myth! Eating during pregnancy is more than eating for two. You must also consider the foods you choose to eat. Instead of focusing on increasing the bulk of your diet, you should focus on increasing certain nutrients.
Maintaining the best nutrition for you and your little bub will keep you both healthy. Pregnant women need more protein, iron, folate and iodine but only SMALL increases in calories. On average during pregnancy total caloric increase should be around 300calories which is equivalent to 1 slice of wholemeal bread with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter (Surprising right?!) A normal weight gain during pregnancy is around 10-13kg for women are healthy pre-pregnancy. Gaining to much weight can lead to high blood pressure, joint pain or gestation diabetes.
What are the most important nutrients during pregnancy?
1. Folate, also know as folic acid is part of the B-group vitamins. Folate is important to reduce the risks of neural tube defects such as spina bifida During pregnancy the requirements increase to at least 600mcg/day. Meeting the requirements can be through your daily diet by eating broccolli, spinach, chickpeas, lentils and adding fortified foods enriched with folate such as cereals and breads.
*** NOTE: All wheat flour used in bread making in Australia now contain folic acid with the exception of organic bread
2. Intake if of iron increases from 19mg/day to 27mg/day when you are pregnant. This is because your little bub needs iron especially in the first 5-6months. A lot women generally have low stores of iron prior to pregnancy, I would recommend consulting with your GP in regards to commencing a supplement. Foods high in iron include meat especially red meat and green leafy vegetables. Also by consuming high iron sources with Vitamin C will maximise absorption.
3. Iodine is an important mineral which is essential for the production of thyroid hormone needed for growth and developed. Not having enough can lead to mental impairment and cretinism. Foods that are good sources of iodine include seafood and seaweed (including nori and kelp), eggs, meat and dairy products. Women who are pregnant should also use iodised table salt when cooking or adding salt to food.
I would recommend seeking professional advice before commencing a multi-vitamin.
Foods to avoid during pregnancy…..
- Alcohol – drinking through pregnancy can lead to the risk of miscarriage, low birth weight, congenital deformities and effects on the baby’s intelligence
- Soft cheeses, such as brie, camembert and ricotta
- Pre-cooked or pre-prepared cold foods that will not be reheated
- Raw seafood such as oysters and sashimi or smoked seafood such as salmon (canned varieties are safe)
- Undercooked chicken and eggs