Throughout the course of your pregnancy, there are a few things that might stress you out, however, what you’re eating doesn’t have to be one of them. While maintaining a healthy diet is essential, especially during your second or third trimester, identifying the foods that are safe and unsafe to eat is a lot easier than you may think.
Foods That Will Help Your Baby Grow
Your developing baby will be quite demanding when it comes to food, so to ensure your little one is getting all of the nutrients he/she needs, these foods will prove to be invaluable.
- Plenty of vegetables in a range of different colours (your greens are especially important!)
- Legumes, such as chick peas and lentils
- Lots of dairy, including milk, yoghurt and cheese (focusing largely on low-fat options)
- Breads, rice, pasta, polenta, quinoa, and all of the grains you can stomach!
- A variety of lean meat
As you can see, giving your baby all of the nutrients he/she needs doesn’t mean you’ll have to follow a strict diet – it’s all about balance.
Vitamins That Will Complement Your Diet
In a perfect world, free of morning sickness and food aversions, we would have no need for vitamins. However, as a mum-to-be there’s a number of vitamins you can take that will help your baby develop into a strong and healthy newborn.
This is probably the most important supplement that is recommended for pregnant women, and should be taken from before you conceive and for the first 12 weeks of your pregnancy to avoid birth defects such as spina bifida.
Calcium and Iron
These key minerals are vital for your health, and the health of your baby, and are often required later in your pregnancy. Your doctor will check your iron levels regularly, so if you are low in iron they will advise you what to take/eat to increase your intake.
If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, or have a medical condition like diabetes or anaemia, it’s best to consult your doctor before taking any supplements.
Foods You Should Try to Avoid
During your pregnancy there are some foods you should try to avoid. We’re not saying you can’t indulge in a sneaky piece of chocolate every now and again; we’re talking about the foods that can potentially cause your baby harm.
- Cigarettes and alcohol are the obvious ones. Research has shown that in some cases a small amount of alcohol is harmless to your unborn child, but it’s best to consult your doctor if you don’t want to cut it out entirely.
- When it comes to caffeine, it’s safe to have approximately 200mg a day, which equates to roughly two cups of instant coffee, or a regular-sized espresso.
- Undercooked meat and eggs are possible sources of bacteria that could be harmful to your baby.
- Any fish that’s high in mercury or cheeses that have a white ‘mouldy’ rind, such as Camembert should also be avoided.
At the end of the day, the type of food you eat will depend on your personal lifestyle and needs. Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet is important, but the occasional sweet treat won’t do you or your baby any harm. As long as you’re eating plenty of lean meats, fruit and vegetables, and are getting enough folic acid and iron, you’ll be giving your unborn child everything they need to grow up big and strong.