Tag Archives: healthy eating in pregnancy

What you CAN eat in pregnancy.

Pregnancy can feel like a time when you CAN’T do things. The food, the drinks, exercise, sleeping positions,  long haul flights…. this being my third pregnancy I wanted to focus on what you CAN do.

Pregnancy is an important time to focus on yourself and also on the new baby. The affects of eating well in pregnancy are not shortlived. Research suggests that how you eat can affect your child’s long term health including mental health, risk of type 2 diabetes, cancers, obesity and cardiovascular disease. This is known as the fetal origins of adult disease. A cohort of mums form the Dutch Hunger Famine of 1944-5 have been followed and the research has shown how their diet had affects on the children. Changes in nutrition at different stages of pregnancy can have long term affects on health.

Metabolic programming is the term used for this concept that nutrition and lifestyle choices early on in life can impact on later health. For example it has been shown that obese mums and mums that gain more weight in pregnancy are more likely to have obese children. The EarlyNutrition Project is a large scale research project looking into this further. 

The short version is, that what you eat in pregnancy can have long lasting effects. 

So I have put together a short video clip of what you CAN eat in pregnancy, the good parts to focus on. 

Look out for more posts on healthy snacks for pregnancy and see my post on healthy eating in pregnancy.

What to eat in Pregnancy

Diet in pregnancy is key. What you eat in that time will influence the growth and development of baby not only whilst it is in your womb but for the rest of it’s life. Research has shown the risk of chronic diseases are influenced this early on by the mums diet.

 34 weeks pregnant

What extra do I need?
The body adapts in pregnancy to provide some of the extra needs by either absorbing more from food or by decreasing the amount of nutrients lost. It’s a very clever business. For example non-harm iron (from plant sources) is absorbed better and less iron is lost as menstruation does not occur in pregnancy. For some nutrients such as calcium the increased amount needed for the baby is met extra calcium being released from the mum’s bones.

The key nutrients to focus on are:
Folate – extra 400µg per day for first 12 weeks of pregnancy and during conception.
Vitamin D – 10µg per day throughout pregnancy
Vitamin C – extra 10µg/day in last trimester
Vitamin A – do not go overboard, 100µg/day only, some vitamin supplements will be unsuitable in pregnancy as they contain too much Vitamin A.

Iron – eat plenty of iron rich foods. Good sources are red meat, green leafy veggies, dried fruit, beans and pulses, nuts, seeds and fortified breakfast cereals.
Calcium – include these 3-4 times a day
Omega 3’s – eat 1 x 140g portion of oily fish per week – salmon, fresh tuna, haddock, trout, mackerel, pilchards, kippers and sardines.

Plan to Eat:
At least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables per day
Starchy carbohydrates at each meal – focus on wholegrains
Iron rich foods each day
3-4 calcium foods a day (yoghurt, milk, cheese, rice pudding, custard, sesame seeds, green leafy veggies, ready brek)
Oily fish once a week
Lean protein daily