It's one of those things that, as soon as you're visibly pregnant, people start telling you what you can and can't eat. One way to be able to confidently nod, thank, and walk away from those people is by having a handle on pregnancy nutrition. It's a little different from everyday nutrition, so let's look into it in more detail.
What should ideal pregnancy nutrition look like?
Ideally, you should eat lots of fruit and veggies, and a balance of carbohydrates, protein, fat and sugars. It's a pretty standard diet with an emphasis on foods that are rich in folate, such as lentils, leafy greens, and eggs.
Are there any specific foods I should look out for?
There are some foods that are especially useful to help either you manage your pregnancy or to help your baby grow.
- Dairy: Helps with protein and calcium, as well as probiotics from things like natural or Greek yoghurt.
- Avocados: They are loaded with folate, potassium, vitamin C and vitamin B6. These help baby's tissue and brain to grow, as well as easing morning sickness.
- Eggs: They contain protein, fat, Choline, which helps with brain growth and neural development.
- Carrots & peppers: Both contain beta-carotene which is essential for the development of your baby's eyes, skin, bones and organs.
- Popcorn: It's high in fibre, vitamin E, and antioxidants, which strengthen your baby's cell membranes."
There are others, but those are a few which should be easy enough to get hold of and eat frequently."
And anything I should avoid?
I mentioned at the beginning that people will give you a long list of foods you shouldn't eat. Some of the most important ones are:
- Alcohol: Increases the risk of miscarriage and stillbirth, and has been linked to reduced brain development.
- Raw, under cooked, or processed meat, fish, or eggs: Increases the risk of infection from several bacteria, viruses and parasites. Some will affect only the mother, seriously weakening her, others affecting the unborn baby leading to serious health complications.
- High levels of caffeine: Unborn babies lack the enzyme needed to process caffeine. High levels can restrict growth and lead to low birth weight.
But I'm so nauseous!
It can be hard to stomach anything when you have morning sickness - or all-day sickness, as experienced by many women! But there are some things you can eat which can help:
- Ginger: Consumed in tea, biscuits, or in a ginger drink, ginger is a safe way to settle the stomach. It can be helpful to keep a pack of ginger biscuits next to your bed and eat a few before you get up in the morning.
- Plain, dry, carbs: There's no science on this one, but evidence shows that when you're nauseous, it's easier to tolerate bland food. You're also more likely to be nauseous when your stomach is empty, so it's an easy way to put something in it.
- Broth: There's a reason that chicken soup is a common home remedy. It's full of nutrition and it doesn't have to be strongly flavoured. Chicken or vegetable broth should do the trick.
- Bananas: Good, energy-dense snack that helps to replace potassium lost through vomiting or diarrhoea."
Pregnancy is often a challenge, but there's no reason that feeding yourself should trip you up. Try to stick to a balanced diet wherever you can, focusing on nutrient-dense foods that keep your energy up. If you're struggling with nausea and vomiting, stick to bland food and try that ginger biscuit trick!
We hope these tips and tricks help you through your pregnancy as smoothly as possible. Are there any foods that you absolutely can't stand that you usually love? Let us know in the comments!
- 15 Superfoods For You And Your Baby: https://www.babyboxco.com/online-parenting-classes/pregnancy/15-pregnancy-super-foods-you-need-to-eat/
- 11 Best Foods to Eat While Pregnant: https://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/eating-well/week-11/big-nutrition-small-packages.aspx
- 13 Foods to Eat When You're Pregnant: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/13-foods-to-eat-when-pregnant#TOC_TITLE_HDR_2
- Foods to avoid in pregnancy: https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/im-pregnant/nutrition-pregnancy/foods-avoid-pregnancy
- The 14 Best Foods to Eat When You're Nauseous: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods-to-eat-when-nauseous#section1