A-Z of pregnancy and nutrition: E is for…

What does E stand for in pregnancy? Read our latest instalment in the A-Z of pregnancy and nutrition

Moving on to our next letter...what does E stand for in pregnancy?

Eating during labour: Hospital policies on eating during labour vary. It may be a good idea to try to eat a meal during early labour to help keep up your energy. Let your body tell you whether to eat, but don’t forget to drink regularly to avoid dehydration. If you do feel hungry during labour, stick to slow releasing carbohydrates that are lighter on the digestive system and will provide you with energy throughout your contractions. Take snacks with you such as dry biscuits, fruit, dried fruit etc. Make sure you read our posts on what to pack in your hospital bag and what to wear during labour.

Eating for two: Falling for the myth of needing to eat for two is likely to result in excessive amounts of weight gain, as energy needs during pregnancy only rise slightly. This is because the body undergoes adaptations allowing increased energy needs to be met from only a very small increase in calorie intake. The recommended increase in energy intake for pregnant women in the UK is just 200kcals per day during the third trimester.

Eggs: To reduce the risk of salmonella, only eat eggs that have been thoroughly cooked. Avoid dishes that may contain raw eggs, such as fresh mayonnaise, mousse and uncooked cheesecakes.

Energy: (of more accurately, lack of!) Energy requirements during pregnancy will vary from woman to woman according to pre-pregnancy body weight, work and leisure activity levels. Extra energy is needed for foetal growth and development and for extra maternal tissues such as the placenta, amniotic fluids and additional body fat. In addition, an increase in energy expenditure is required to maintain these tissues and carry out physical activities at a higher body weight. Energy demands are not equally distributed throughout pregnancy, with energy needs being far higher during the second and third trimesters because the bulk of new tissues are laid down as protein or fat in these periods. However, the actual increase in energy needed from the diet is quite low as the body adapts to the increased energy needs of pregnancy. See eating for two above.

Make sure you catch up our previous posts on pregnancy and nutrition here - we've covered pregnancy A, pregnancy B , pregnancy C and pregnancy D

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