10 basics of healthy eating in pregnancy

What are the basics of healthy eating in pregnancy? We take a closer look...

Base every meal on starchy foods like bread, potatoes, rice, pasta, chapatis, yams and cereals. These provide energy for you and for your baby to grow. They can also be a good source of fibre, help you feel full and combat fatigue.

Eat lots of fruit and vegetables. Aim for a wide variety and at least 5 servings every day. Fresh, frozen, canned and dried all count.

Choose foods rich in protein such as lean meat, chicken, fish, eggs, soya, beans and nuts. These foods are also great sources of iron.

Eat more fibre rich foods. These include wholegrain breads and pasta, brown rice, wholegrain or high fibre breakfast cereals, pulses, fruit and vegetables to help prevent constipation and piles.

Eat plenty of dairy foods such as milk, cheese and yoghurts. Dairy foods are a major source of calcium, important for your and your baby’s teeth and bones. Choose low fat varieties when you can.

Make snacks nutritious. Snacking is common during pregnancy. However too many indulgent snacks can result in excessive weight gain. Healthier snack choices include: malt loaf, currant buns, low-fat yoghurts, bread or vegetable sticks, breakfast cereals, milky drinks, fruit smoothies and fruit.

Aim for two portions of fish each week, one of which should be oily. Oily fish includes salmon, trout, sardines and pilchards, which are important for supplying the baby with long-chain fatty acids (AA, EPA and DHA). DHA contributes to the normal development of the eyes and brain of the foetus. 2 If you never eat oily fish speak to your midwife about taking a pregnancy supplement which contains Omega-3, such as Vitabiotics Pregnacare® Plus.

Get active and try to maintain a healthy weight. The average pregnancy weight gain is 10-12kgs or 22-28lbs if your pre-pregnancy weight is in the normal range. Gaining too much weight can affect your health and blood pressure. Equally, it’s important to avoid dieting when pregnant as this can limit your baby’s access to nutrition. Being active not only helps to moderate weight gain, but also prepares the body for birth. Make sure you read more about healthy eating in pregnancy in our post on eating for two and other pregnancy food myths.

Drink plenty of water and other fluids. Pregnant women dehydrate more quickly than normal so drinking plenty of water and other fluids is important, especially when exercising or if the weather is hot.

Our final tip for healthy eating in pregnancy...don't skip breakfast. Breakfast provides a vital boost to energy and nutrient levels, so make sure you get every day off to a great start for you and your baby.

Make sure you also read our posts on what to pack in your hospital bag and advice from our midwife on pain relief in labour

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