Expectant mothers require a healthy well balanced diet. A variety of foods from all the food groups will support the growth and development of your baby.
5 servings daily. Enjoy a variety and aim to add fruit or vegetables to each meal. Choose larger portions of vegetables/salads with your lunch and dinner.
Choose lean protein like meat, chicken, fish, eggs, beans and peas, peanut butter, soya and nuts. Avoid eating shark, swordfish, king mackerel and marlin, and limit your intake of oily fish including tuna to two portions per week. Liver and pate should be avoided due to excessive Vitamin A.
3 servings a day, including milk, cheese and yogurt. Fortified milk can be beneficial as it provides extra calcium, folic acid, iodine and vitamin D. Unpasteurized milk and cheeses should also be avoided.
Drink at least 8 glasses (2 Litres) of water daily. Limit caffeine to 200mg daily.
Vegetable oils including rapeseed, corn, peanut and olive oil are good choices.
Enjoy brown and multigrain breads, cereals, whole wheat pastas and brown rice.
Take an appropriate supplement of folic acid until the 12th week of pregnancy. Thereafter, continue to eat a wide range of foods which are rich in folate including green vegetables, citrus fruits, beans and legumes, brown rice and fortifi ed breakfast cereals, pastas and breads.
Include foods with iron such as red meat, chicken and fish, spinach, some leafy greens and beans in your diet daily. For vegetarians and women who do not eat a lot of iron rich foods, increase iron absorption by combining plant-based sources of iron with vitamin C-rich foods.
During pregnancy, calcium is needed for the healthy development of a baby’s teeth, bones, heart, nerves and muscles. It is important to have at least 3 daily servings of calcium-rich foods such as low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt or cheese and juices before, during and after pregnancy. If you are under 18 or you are carrying twins or more, aim for at least 5 servings daily. Your doctor or dietitian may recommend a prenatal vitamin/mineral supplement to help ensure that you get enough iron, folic acid and other nutrients.
In general, pregnant women need between 2,200 calories and 2,900 calories a day. A slow increase of calories as the baby grows is recommended. It is best to eat regular meals and snacks throughout the day. Food intake should be directed by your appetite, but eating high fat and high sugar foods should not be so excessive that they replace healthy well-balanced foods from your diet or lead to excessive weight gain.
Always wash your hands before and after preparing food. Keep kitchen surfaces, cooking utensils, tea-towels clean. Replace tea-towels daily. Do not let uncooked food (e.g. raw meat or fish) contaminate cooked or ready-to-eat food (e.g. chopping boards or by letting juice from raw food drip on to other foods in the refrigerator). Wash fruit, vegetables and salad before consumption. Never eat food after the ‘use by’ date. Cook food thoroughly.
Ready-made meals should be cooked/heated according to manufacturers’ instructions. Cool leftover food quickly and use within 24 hours. Do not reheat. Make sure the refrigerator and freezer are operating at the right temperatures. Keep pets away from kitchen surfaces. Always wear rubber gloves when handling cat litter trays or gardening.