Tag Archives: iron

Eating Well in Pregnancy

Eating Well in Pregnancy.

Pregnancy is an important time to be focusing on your health and on eating well so both mum and baby get all they need to grow.

However pre-pregnancy is as important, you want your body to be in tip top form and able to provide the baby with all it needs, then continue eating well into pregnancy and throughout breastfeeding.

 

Top tips:

  • Reduce or cut out alcohol pre-pregnancy.
  • Super sizing your fruit and veggies, aim for more than 5 portions a day.
  • Take 400 µg of folic acid every day pre-pregnancy and for the first 12 week of pregnancy.
  • Wash all fruit, veggies and salads to remove any traces of soil which could contain toxoplasma.
  • Go wholegrain as often as possible with bread, pasta, rice and other starchy foods.
  • Up your iron stores by eating red meat, green leafy veggies, fortified breakfast cereals, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, tofu, pulses and beans regularly.
  • Eat regular meals and keep snacks healthy.

The big pregnancy myth is that you need to eat enough for 2. Unfortunately this isn’t true! The body becomes more efficient at using the food you give it. So you don’t need to eat any extra until the second and third trimester when you may need 2-300 kcals extra a day.

 

There are several foods that you need to stay away from when pregnant:

  • Mould ripened cheese (brie, camembert, goats cheese that has a hard rind).
  • Soft blue cheese (Danish blue, gorgonzola, roquefort).

Cheese made with mould can contain listeria, listeriosis can cause miscarriage and increase the risk of still birth.

  • Eggs should be well cooked, raw and undercooked eggs can cause salmonella poisoning. Avoid home made mayonnaise as well.
  • Pate can also contain listeria.
  • Raw and undercooked meat.
  • Liver, liver pate, liver sausage and other liver products, these contain high levels of vitamin A which can cause birth defects.
  • Alcohol should be avoided due to fetal alcohol syndrome.
  • Caffeine should be limited to no more than 200mg per day (2 mugs of tea or instant coffee, 1 mug filter coffee). Watch out for caffeine in energy drinks, chocolate, hot chocolate and cola drinks.
  • Sword Fish, shark and marlin should be avoided due to the levels of mercury they can contain, oily fish should be limited to 2 portions a week due to the levels of PCB’s and dioxins (pollutants) in them.
  • Shellfish should only be eaten when properly cooked as these can also cause food poisoning.

 

 

The Fertility Diet and the Guardian

I was fortunate enough to be asked by a media company to work with a journalist and write a column on Fertility and diet. This was fascinating for me as it meant I spent some time reading the research on this area and brushing up my knowledge. The article is at  the end of this post.

There has been some good research showing:

  • There is a U-shaped relationship between weight and fertility, with lower fertility rates in obese and underweight women, so you have the best chances of concieving when you are a healthy BMI.
  • Caffeine should be restricted to <300mg/d (1-2 cups tea/coffee). More than this is linked to an increased risk of miscarriage and poor fetal growth. Caffiene has a prolonged half life meaning it hangs around in the body so you really want to cut down the caffeine before you become pregnant. 
  • A large piece of research calls the Nurses Health study followed 17,000 plus women who were trying to conceive over a period of 8 yrs. The study showed that healthy eating is key. Women eating less trans fats, more monounsaturated fats (heart healthy fats such as olives and avocardo), more plant protein, high fat dairy products, high fibre, low glycaemic index carboydrates and more iron that comes from plants had higher fertility rates.
  •  There is some research to suggest over exercising and infertility may be linked. Although it is not proven that it is the exercise that causes the infertility, it makes sense as over exercising can stress the body and lead to being underweight, which are things we know affect fertility.
Dietitian UK: Priya features in the Guardian 26.07.12
Dietitian UK: Priya features in the Guardian 26.07.12