Eating well before and during pregnancy gives your baby a good start in life. Healthy eating during pregnancy is very similar to any other time of your life and be extra careful when handling raw and undercooked food.
When you’re pregnant there’s no need to eat for two. Eating food from each of the 5 food groups – along with a supplement of folic acid until 12 weeks and vitamin D throughout pregnancy – will ensure you and your baby get all the nutrients you both need. It’s also a good idea to make sure you eat regularly.
The 5 food groups and why they’re good for you both
Bread, rice, potatoes, pasta and other starchy foods including yams give you energy and should make up the main part of each meal. Choose wholegrain options where possible.
Fruit and vegetables provide vitamins, minerals and fiber. Aim to eat 5 or more portions of fresh, frozen, tinned or dried fruit or fruit juice per day.
Meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non-dairy sources of protein such as nuts, lentils and tofu. These foods also provide iron and zinc. Include foods from this group twice a day and try to eat one serving of fish per week.
Milk and dairy foods provide calcium. Aim to have 3 servings of these foods per day. One serving is provided by 1 cup milk, 1 yogurt, or 2 oz cheese. Choose low fat dairy products unless you are underweight. If you eat soy alternatives check they have calcium added.
Foods high in fat and/or sugar. Keep foods from this food group to a minimum to prevent gaining too much weight.
Pregnancy Diet FAQs
How can I prevent constipation during pregnancy?
During pregnancy stick to wholegrain bread, high-fiber breakfast cereal and fruit and vegetables all help to keep you regular. Having 6-8 drinks every day will also help – water, juices and hot drinks all count.
How can I stop feeling nauseous?
Eating little and often throughout the day can help prevent nausea. Choose starchy foods such as dry toast and crackers, and cold, bland non-greasy foods. Some moms-to-be find avoiding the smell of cooking eases nausea. Aim to drink little and often through the day – this will also help to prevent dehydration. Some women try ginger-rich foods or drinks, or wrist acupressure travel bands to help with the queasiness, which should ease at around 16 to 20 weeks.
How can I avoid heartburn during pregnancy?
Try to eat small regular meals and snacks, and avoid large meals. Fatty, fried and spicy foods can all cause heartburn, so try not to eat these types of food within 3 hours of going to bed.
Please be aware that the information given in these articles is only intended as general advice and should in no way be taken as a substitute for professional medical
advice. If you or your family or your child is suffering from symptoms or conditions which are severe or persistent or you need specific medical advice, please seek professional medical assistance.
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