If you’re pregnant, you probably know by now that your eating patterns will change throughout the course of your pregnancy and it’s important to keep in mind that this is entirely normal. You need to gain some weight in order to provide you and your unborn child with sufficient nutrients and how much you gain isn’t necessarily the same amount that someone else gains.
Eating healthy foods will ensure that you get an adequate intake of nutrients so stick to unrefined carbohydrates, minimally processed foods, loads of fruits and vegetables and good protein sources.
You will most likely have an increased requirement for certain vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamin A: Fish and meat, bright vegetables such as carrots, and green leafy vegetables
- Vitamin E: Avocado, nuts, green leafy vegetables
- Vitamin C: Citrus fruits, pawpaw, guava, tomatoes, potatoes with skin on, strawberries, green pepper. Vitamin C also has an effect on your energy levels
- B-complex vitamins: Wholewheat grains, nuts, beans, peas, meat, fish, milk, eggs
- Calcium: You can have milk, cheese, yoghurt, almonds and dark green leafy vegetables every day.
- Folic acid (which prevents any spinal defects in your growing baby): Start eating more foods rich in folic acid such as yoghurt, citrus fruits, avocado and dark green leafy vegetables. Taking a folic acid supplement which gives you 400 micrograms per day during the first trimester is also something you should talk to your doctor about
- Iron: Take a supplement if you are anaemic but try to get your iron from food
Foods to avoid:
- Soft cheeses – Brie, Camembert, Roquefort, Gorgonzola and feta made from unpasteurized milk as these could lead to food poisoning
- Avoid raw egg, raw or undercooked meat and raw fish
There is no need for you to avoid any other foods unless you and/or your partner are allergic to a specific food. If this is the case, avoid the offending food throughout pregnancy.