Eating well during pregnancy
Pregnancy is probably one of the most important times in your live to try to eat well. Your body is producing a whole other person and you’re growing and changing at a very rapid rate. This means that getting a ‘balanced diet’ is very important during this time. Ultimately to ensure you have enough energy and nutrients for yourself, as well as for your growing baby. I get asked a lot about how to eat well during pregnancy, hence this blog post!
But it obviously doesn’t always go to plan. Mine certainly hasn’t so far…
Nausea, sickness, food aversion, fatigue – you name it, any of these can have an impact on your food intakes during pregnancy. However, as much as you can, it’s obviously good to try to get in as much of the good stuff and nutrients as possible.
I’ve written before about Feeding your Foetus and WHY nutrition is important during pregnancy. I’ll also be writing soon about nutrient requirements during pregnancy too – watch this space.
Trying to get nutrition right during pregnancy:
For this very reason, during my last pregnancy and now finally during this one, I’ve been finding myself doing a little checklist in my head at the end of each day. Just to make sure I’m eating well during pregnancy and eating enough foods from each of the main food groups. Also to ensure that day-to-day, I’m not missing out on anything important.
Last time I was pregnant with Raffy it was much easier to eat well, and I created this little checklist for myself and others. Which is a simple way of working out if I’ve met all my requirements AND been looking after myself at the end of the day! If you’re pressed for time, check out my VLOG below on this topic instead!
Of course it’s not a problem if you don’t eat a perfectly well-balanced diet every single day, but it can be easy to miss off some of the foods that are important to eat regularly.
Nutrition needs during pregnancy
During pregnancy women’s requirements for protein, folate, vitamin C and a few other vitamins increase. However, apart from the focus on supplementing with 10 mcg vitamin D and 400 mcg folic acid, current advice is that these increased intakes can be achieved through a varied and balanced diet. This is mainly because during pregnancy, women’s bodies actually become much more efficient at absorbing and utilising the nutrients we need to support growth of mum and baby (we are SO clever!). Nevertheless, this still means that we need to ensure we give our bodies the right foods and the right nutrients in the first place.
Importantly, despite the age old ‘eating for two’ myth (which people still advise me to do!), pregnant women don’t need extra calories until around the 3rd trimester when we only need around an extra 200 kcals a day. Therefore, unless your doctor recommends otherwise, we simply need to try and eat in-line with Government advice, which means:
- Eating 5 or MORE portions of fruits and vegetables a day
- Including plenty of wholegrains each day (I usually base meals around these)
- Include around 2-3 portions of dairy or dairy alternatives each day
- Including 2-3 portions of beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins each day
- Try to include 2 portions of fish in your diet each week, one of which should be oily fish
The Government’s Eatwell Guide breaks it down like this….
Healthy AND Hydrated during pregnancy
On top of these general recommendations, it’s also a good idea to stay generally healthy and active during your pregnancy. Getting enough fluid is also important as your baby is literally swimming in your body’s own liquid. Advice is to have around 6-8 glasses of fluid, but during pregnancy you may need more than this. Especially if it’s very hot, you’re suffering from morning sickness or you’re keeping active. Try and monitor how much you’re having by keeping an eye on thirst as well as the colour of your urine. If it’s very dark, you need more water!
Being perfect during pregnancy?
Because everyday life sometimes gets in the way, with the best will in the world….I decided to create myself a little “Pregnancy Food Checklist” to help make sure at the end of the day I was getting all I needed and, if not, I could make sure I top up the next day. Here is the chart I used. It’s a great option to pin to a fridge or keep by your bed and it can really help to simply and easily remind you to keep on track with looking after yourself and your nutrition needs each day.
I hope you find it useful!