Pregnancy & Birth

Ten foods to eat when pregnant

The top foods you can eat to ease the harder side effects and help you grow a healthy baby.

By Rosalind Scutt

While some women love pregnancy others will admit to feeling hopelessly irritable, sick or just plain exhausted. Whatever your experience of pregnancy, there are some key foods to eat to help ease the symptoms.

1.Ginger

For those suffering from morning sickness, ginger can help. Not just a wive's tale anymore, it's been shown to help the symptoms of mornign sickness when used in trials. Try ginger tea, ginger ale or ginger biscuits.

2. Natural honey

We all know that honey is packed with antioxidants and antibacterial properties (it tastes great too!) Honey will give you a pick me up anytime and also assists with sore throats and coughs or for those feeling generally run down (there's a bit of that in pregnancy!)

3. Foods high in protein

A developing baby needs for mum to eat plenty of protein. The amino acids which make up protein also form the basic building blocks of your body's cells which in turn also form the building blocks of baby's body too. Try to consume 1.5 servings per day where 1 serve = 65-100g cooked meat or chicken, 80-120g fish fillet, 1/3 cup peanuts or almonds or 2 small eggs.

4. Foods high in calcium

A developing baby needs calcium to build strong bones and teeth; to grow a healthy heart, nerves, and muscles; and to develop a normal heart rhythm and blood-clotting abilities. If the mother doesn't get enough calcium when pregnant, baby will draw it from the mother's bones, which may impair her health later on. Try to consume 2 serves per day where 1 serve = 250ml of milk, 2 slices of cheese or 200g of yoghurt

5. Foods high in folate

Folate is essential for the healthy development of a baby especially in the months leading up to conception and in the first trimester. Vitamin B9 (aka: folate, folic acid, folicin) is a water-soluble B vitamin with many rich natural sources including peanuts, dark leafy greens (spinach, turnip greens, collards), sunflower seeds, dried herbs and yeast extracts spread such as marmite.

6. Foods high in iron

During pregnancy, a woman's body needs more iron than usual to produce all the blood needed to supply nutrition to the placenta. Good sources of iron are green vegetables such as broccoli and spinach, strawberries, muesli and wholemeal bread.

7. Foods high in vitamin C

Both mother and baby need vitamin C daily. Try to include a vitamin C-rich food with every meal to get the most iron out of the other foods you eat (vitamin C helps with iron absorption). Foods high in vitamin C include strawberries, citrus fruits, kiwifruit, capsicum, guava, brussel sprouts, watermelon, broccoli and dark leafy greens.

8. Healthy unprocessed foods including fruits, vegetables and wholegrains

Fruits and vegetables are healthy sources of vitamins and minerals, fibre and carbohydrates. Try for five to nine serves a day. Choose whole fruit rather than juice whenever possible. Frozen and canned fruits and vegetables are acceptable however, canned fruits in syrup are higher in sugar and canned vegetables are higher in salt. Choose wholegrain products including whole wheat bread, oatmeal, brown rice and whole grain pasta.

9. Eggs

Eggs are a low-cost, nutritious food to eat when pregnant. Eggs provide the highest quality protein available, along with 18 vitamins and minerals. Eggs are also an excellent source of choline, a nutrient that, when consumed during pregnancy, may be key in the brain development and life-long memory capacity of your infant. As always, do not eat raw or undercooked eggs.

10. Prunes and prune juice

To avoid constipation, eat lots of fibre-rich foods (prunes and prune juice are some of the best). In addition, drinking 2 to 3 litres of water each day will also help prevent constipation.

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