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Food during your pregnancy

Sure you're eating for two, and one of you is developing. Unfortunately that doesn't mean you should actually eat for two; wouldn't that be great? Here is what you need to know about eating during pregnancy.

It is important for you to eat properly when you are pregnant, but this doesn't mean you need to eat for two. How much more you should eat varies from one person to another. In the majority of cases, it's enough to have an extra snack comprising of, for instance, a glass of milk, a sandwich and a banana per day.

What can I eat during my pregnancy?
In the main, you can eat as you normally would. That means a varied, balanced diet, so that you get all the nutrients you need. Don't forget that your wellbeing is very important over the next nine months, so try to eat really well!

Here are eight tips on diet which are worth keeping in mind:

1) Eat wholegrains. Choose wholegrain bread which contains lots of fibre to reduce the risk of constipation.

2) Eat fruit and vegetables at every meal. Experts recommend five servings of fruits and vegetables each day, preferably three servings of yellow fruit and veggies and green leafy vegetables, and two servings of other ones. Fruit and vegetables contain carbohydrates, as well as antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

3) Get plenty of good-quality protein. Good-quality protein is important for growth, so make sure you’re getting enough lean meat, fish, chicken, eggs, nuts and legumes.

4) Eat fish frequently.
Fish contain important fatty acids, which are crucial to the development of your child's brain. Fish also contain important vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin D, iodine and selenium.

5) Eat dairy products. There is as much calcium (important for the baby's skeleton and teeth) in low-fat dairy products as in the full-fat varieties, so go for the low-fat option.

6) Avoid Listeria. The deadly bacteria listeria can travel through contaminated food to pregnant women and their babies, causing death or premature labour. Listeria thrives in food kept at low temperatures so avoid chilled, pre-cooked meat like ham, pate and hotdogs, smoked and raw seafood, soft-ripened cheeses like brie and camembert and stored salads from supermarket delis. Also avoid unpasteurised milk. If you eat pre-cooked meals, reheat them thoroughly till piping hot and wash all fresh food carefully.

7) Only use a little butter, margarine and oil. But it is important that “low-fat” does not become “no-fat”. Your baby needs good fats to develop their brain.

8) Drink a lot of water, preferably two litres a day and be careful with the amount of sugar and salt you eat.

Read more at www.healthed.govt.nz, under ‘eating for healthy pregnant women’

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