Nutrition & pregnancy

Nutrition throughout pregnancy

Pregnancy is an exciting and exhilarating time for any parent-to-be. You discover a baby is on the way and then, before you know it, nine months have passed and you're the proud parents of a newborn boy or girl. in those nine months there's plenty a mum-to-be can do to ensure she gives her baby the best possible start in life.

The most important thing you can do to help your baby's development is to take care of yourself because, by doing so, you are also taking care of your baby. And one of the best ways you can do this is to ensure that you have a healthy, balanced diet.

Old wives' tale!

It is not true that pregnant women need to eat twice as much as normal. An extra 200 to 300 calories a day during the last trimester is sufficient.

As your body changes to accommodate a developing baby, nutrition becomes very important. Your diet needs to provide enough energy and nutrition for both of you - something that can sometimes be difficult to achieve by your diet alone as a busy modern life often leaves little time to prepare healthy meals. In order to help make sure you get all the nutrients you need, you might therefore want to consider taking extra vitamins or minerals to supplement your diet. The Department of Health acknowledges that there are two specific nutrients that are needed at higher levels during pregnancy than the average balanced diet can achieve and they advise supplementation of additional folic acid and vitamin D in pregnancy.

Folic Acid & Vitamin D: A supplemental folic acid daily intake of 400 μg for at least one month before and up to three months after conception increases maternal folate status. Low maternal
folate status is a risk factor in the development of neural tube defects in the developing foetus. Vitamin D helps to support muscle function and normal bones and teeth for mums-to-be
and build up Vitamin D stores for the baby in their early days. Vitamin B2 and B12: Help release energy from food. Vitamin C, Iron and Zinc: Help the immune system function normally.

Last updated: November 2014