Nutrition is especially important during your pregnancy and throughout your breastfeeding journey. It can be easy to let your diet get away from you while pregnant though, especially during that first trimester when you are just trying to keep morning sickness at bay. However, to give you and your baby the best start it is important to watch what you eat and ate lots of extra nutrients, vitamins and minerals to your diet which can easily be depleted while you grow that tiny human.
Healthy eating during pregnancy is critical to your baby’s growth and development. In order to get the nutrients you need, you must eat from a variety of food groups, including fruits and vegetables, grains, protein and dairy products.
Eating for two
You all know the saying, but try not to take it too seriously. You are growing a little person but you don’t need an extra person’s worth of kilojoules. What is most important is extra nutrients not extra calories.
In the first trimester, youdon’t need to increaseyour energy intake much, while from the second trimester you want to increase your slow-release energy producing foods such as whole grains as well as proteins from lean meats, chicken and fish. Try to say no to the extra serve of dessert and instead say yes to the extra serve of vegies with your dinner.
Supplementing your intake
Pregnancy can drain your body of some nutrients, particularly iron and folate. Talk to your GP or midwife about the levels of your iron, vitamin D, folate and iodine throughout your pregnancy. Make sure that you follow up on the results of all those usual pregnancy blood tests and if you are feeling low or lacking energy its vital to ask your health provider for a blood test. Low iron can leave you exhausted and flat. Anaemia and low iron levels are very common in pregnancy and keeping on top of your levels will help you feel your best.
Don’t forget to keep taking those pregnancy vitamins throughout your whole pregnancy and into breastfeeding. Those essential vitamins and minerals help not only decrease risk of cystic fibrosis and other chronic conditions but also assist in bub’s brain and physical development.
Its normal and healthy to gain weight during pregnancy. Remember, a lot of the weight you gain is actually the baby, fluid, placenta and extra blood so it’s a necessity for you to gain weight to accommodate all the extras that come with baby.
How much weight you should gain depends on your starting weight and BMI but its recommended you gain 12 to 16kg if you are a normal weight pre-pregnancy. To limit how much weight you gain above this try having some healthy snacks on hand like dried fruit or carrot sticks rather than chocolate or lollies which are so easy to reach for when you feel you need an energy boost.
Don’t panic if you gain more than the ‘recommended’ amount. Every woman and every pregnancy is different. Try thinking of a healthy alternative to what you’re craving and come up with a diet and exercise plan for after the baby arrives.
It is so hard to keep a balanced diet in pregnancy when you have cravings and lack the energy to make healthy meals but it is important to stick to those 5 main food groups - . Try doing a big cook up on the weekends and prepare healthy meals for the week in advance. Avoid the ‘naughty’ aisles in the supermarket and instead stock up on fresh fruit and veg, nuts and wholegrain crackers.
… and finally, remember to keep your fluids up! Especially if you have morning sickness. Your little bub needs you to drink as much as a litre of extra water every day, so drink up J