Your diet is now more crucial than ever because the food you eat will also be helping your baby grow and develop. It means you’ll both suffer if you don’t eat well – the baby needs certain nutrients to grow, such as calcium and iron, and if they’re missing from your diet she’ll take what she needs from your stores instead. Poor diet can worsen nausea and also lead to anaemia, tiredness and cramps – just what you don’t need! By eating the right foods, you may just skip these ailments and you’ll know you’re nourishing your baby.
Suffering from morning sickness? Bananas are the perfect food as they’re easy to digest and will give you instant energy. They contain fibre and potassium, which both help with proper functioning of cells and digestion and the regulation of blood pressure.
Your body needs some daily vitamin C to help it fight infection and absorb iron. Citrus fruits are full of the stuff and oranges also contain folate, potassium, fibre and water.
There are two kinds of iron: haem iron and non-haem iron. Meat, fish and poultry have haem iron, which is absorbed much better than the non-haem variety found in vegetables, nuts and grains. The easiest way to boost your iron – if you’re not a vegetarian – is with lean meat.
There’s conflicting information about whether it’s okay for pregnant women to eat eggs. It’s important to avoid them if they’re raw or undercooked but scrambled and hard-boiled eggs are fine. Hen eggs are a great source of protein and now have Heart Foundation approval.
5. Breakfast cereal
Try the folate-fortified variety, so you get that extra boost of folic acid. Cereal is often also fortified with essential vitamins and iron. But check the sugar, salt and fat levels before you buy, as they can be very high in some cereals!
- Dried apricots
These yummy morsels are great sources of beta-carotene, an immune system booster, as well as fibre. To stave off morning sickness it’s better to eat regular, small meals rather than three large meals a day, and a handful of apricots makes a great snack.
Do you want your bub to excel in the brains department? Eat salmon or other oily fish, such as tuna, that has omega-3 fatty acids. Two to three portions a week is enough and certain fish should be restricted during pregnancy due to their potentially high mercury levels: if you have orange roughy (sea perch), only have one serve a week; if you have swordfish, marlin, broadbill or shark (flake), have no other fish for a fortnight.
If you were raised in Australia this probably won’t be a tough one to stomach. It’s rich in B-group vitamins which are essential for healthy blood and contains folate.
This leafy green vegie is a great source of folate, iron and calcium. Folate is really important during pregnancy because it reduces the risk of your baby developing neural tube defects, such as spina bifida. To retain the nutrients, try to steam the spinach rather than boiling it, and eat it with a food or juice that’s rich in vitamin C to get the most benefit from it.
Choose the low-fat variety if possible. It will give your body calcium to help your baby’s bone formation, and protein, which is essential for growing tissues. Your body absorbs calcium very well during pregnancy but you still need two to three serves a day; other sources include milk and sesame seeds.