Frequently asked questions
During pregnancy your body is working hard to create your new baby. This amazing biological process needs extra energy and nutrients. Unfortunately this doesn't mean you can 'eat for two!' The Department of Health advise that the calorie requirement in pregnancy does not go up until the last trimester at which point a woman needs an average of an additional 200 calories a day during the last trimester. Otherwise advice is now to eat as normally as possible without any additional calories.
A well balanced diet should include all the main food groups: fresh fruit and vegetables, protein from fish, meat and eggs, fat, carbohydrates and dairy products.
The vitamin folic acid plays a vital role in the healthy development of the brain and spinal cord. Folate taken around the time of conception and the first 12 weeks of pregnancy can ensure the healthy development of the baby’s spinal cord.
It is sensible to choose folate-rich foods during pregnancy, but you should also take a supplement containing at least 400 micrograms of folic acid. This is because you need lots more folate than usual during pregnancy and although it's found in a wide variety of foods, including green leafy vegetables, beans, wheat germ, yeast, eggs and orange juice, it rapidly loses it's strength during storage and cooking. Fresh vegetables can lose up to 70% of their folate in three days, up to 95% is lost into cooking water, and more disappears when food is heated. So start taking a supplement containing folic acid from the moment you throw away your contraceptives!
Many mums are understandably frightened of taking any medicine or supplement during pregnancy in case it harms their baby. It's very important not to pick and mix supplements off the supermarket shelf because high doses of certain vitamins can be dangerous. There is very strong evidence that intakes over 3,000mcg can lead to birth defects in the baby, however too little vitamin A can also have a detrimental effect so getting the right balance is important. Tailored pregnancy multivitamin supplements can help maintain the health of pregnant women and may help the development of the baby.
A single multivitamin that has been specifically formulated for the needs of women before, during and after pregnancy can be the simplest choice.
There is really no 'normal' weight gain. Every woman is different; it depends on your usual weight, the size of your baby and any fluid retention. There's no need to worry obsessively about your weight during pregnancy and lots of doctors and midwives have stopped routinely weighing women at antenatal appointments.
Having said all that, the average weight gain tends to be around two stones or twenty four pounds, although it ranges from one to three stones. This is made up of the baby, the placenta and fluid, the enlarged breasts and some increase in body fat stores.
If you notice a sudden, rapid increase in weight with some body swelling it is worth seeing your doctor as this could indicate fluid retention which may be associated with some potential health concerns that could impact on the baby.
Your body's requirements for vitamins, minerals and other nutrients increase with pregnancy and it is therefore better if you body is well stocked before conception.
The World Health Organisation and the UK Department of Health recommend that a 400mcg folic acid food supplement should be taken for three months before becoming pregnant, and should be continued for at least the first twelve weeks of pregnancy. A tailored multivitamin designed for pregnancy, such as Sanatogen mum to be, contains all of the folic acid recommended, as well as a host of other nutrients to support you and your baby before and during pregnancy and whilst you are breast-feeding.