Pregnancy and post-natal nutrition
Maintaining a healthy diet during pregnancy is important for both you and your baby.
Eating from each of the food groups will ensure you and your baby have all of the nutrients you need. Below are recommended daily intakes of each of the different food groups. While you may not quite 'tick all of the boxes' everyday, it's something to aim for.
5 handfuls of colourful vegetables i.e. mixed vegetables, salad..
2 servings of fruit - a serving is what fits into the palm of your hand, i.e. 2 mandarins, 1/2 banana, 1 appl)
8 servings of grain foods - a serving is 1 slice of bread, 1/3 cup cooked pasta/rice, 1/2 cup cereal
2 servings of milk or milk alternatives i.e. yoghurt, milk, cheese
3 servings of legumes, nuts, seeds, fish and other seafood, eggs, poultry, and/or red meat - a serving is 1/2 cup legumes, 30g nuts, 1 tbsp seeds, a hand size fish, 2 eggs, palm size chicken or red meat
Many pregnant women suffer from constipation. Make sure you get your recommended serves of fruit and veges per day to help relieve this.
Tips to increase fibre:
'Google' legume recipes if you are not sure how to use them. They are incredibly in-expensive, good for you, and versatile.
Use brown bread, brown rice and wholemeal pasta over white alternatives.
Snack on fruit, nuts or grain crackers and hummus.
Choose high fibre grain products, i.e. those with more than 5g fibre per 100g.
Iron - helps to carry oxygen around your body; needs increase during pregnancy to 27mg per day, rather than 18mg per day
Calcium - helps to keep bones strong; requirements are increased during pregnancy up to 1300mg per day, rather than 1000mg
Iodine - helps your baby to develop; if you are pregnant you should take a supplement (GP or pharmacist approved) containing 150mcg of iodine per day until the end of your pregnancy or until you finish breastfeeding if you do so
Folic acid - reduces risk of neural tube defects; ideally your diet will be rich in folate before conception, but if pregnancy was unplanned, seek a folic acid supplement as soon as possible from your GP; you need at least 800mcg per day until the end of your first trimester
Vitamin A - important for growth and immunity, but toxic at very high levels; don't supplement with Vitamin A during pregnancy unless you have been advised to by your health professional
Vitamin B12 - essential for normal blood and nerve function; if you eat animal products (meat/fish/chicken, eggs, dairy) you will most likely get enough of this vitamin, if you do not, or are following a vegan diet it is likely you will need supplementation during your pregnancy - seek advice from your health professional if this applies to you
Vitamin D - for bone strength and immune function; we get most of our Vitamin D from the sun; if you have darker skin, or completely avoid sun exposure for religious, personal or medicinal reasons, you will likely need to supplement with this vitamin
Food safety - see this link for information on food safety
Alcohol - there is no known safe level for drinking alcohol during pregnancy
Caffiene - the recommendations are to limit caffiene intake to about the equivalent of 2 cups of coffee per day (in total <200mg caffiene); a long black has 200mg caffiene, whereas an instant coffee has 60-80mg, an energy drink has 80-120mg
For more information on healthy eating for pregnancy and breastfeeding - see this link
Need support with breastfeeding?
Search Facebook or Google for Mother4Mother breastfeeding groups in your area. These groups provide a safe, comfortable and extremely welcoming environment for you to learn to breastfeed, chat with other Mum's if you want to, have a cuppa and take a bit of a load off.
The group facilitators are known as 'Peer Supporters', they are mostly Mum's who have had their own breastfeeding journey. Some groups will have a lactation consultant present.