Are you pregnant? Make sure you read our Pregnacare A-Z of Pregnancy and Nutrition, covering everything important for parents-to-be. Next, we take a look at the letter H during pregnancy
Our Pregnacare A-Z is a series of posts, one for each letter of the alphabet, designed to help you understand your nutritional needs, how they change and the best foods to choose during pregnancy and breast-feeding.
This A to Z answers many of the important questions mums-to-be have about pregnancy and nutrition. It covers everything from antenatal care through to water intake, via pregnancy vitamin supplements.
You can download the full version of the guide in PDF format here.
If you have any further questions, make sure you ask your midwife or GP.
Pregnacare A-Z Of Pregnancy And Nutrition – What Does The Letter H Stand For?
Why Hand Washing So Important, Especially During Pregnancy?
To prevent illnesses wash your hands regularly and thoroughly, especially:
- Before and after handling any food, especially raw meat and fish and before eating
- After going to the toilet
- After touching dogs, cats, kittens or their litter
- After gardening, even if you have worn gloves
- After coming in from outside/work/public transport
What Causes Headaches During Pregnancy?
Headaches are a common discomfort and may occur at anytime during pregnancy but tend to be most common during the first and third trimesters. An increase in headaches during the first trimester is believed to be caused by the surge of hormones along with an increase in the volume of blood circulating throughout your body. These headaches may be aggravated due to stress, poor posture or changes in your vision.
Other causes of headaches during pregnancy may involve one or more of the following:
- Lack of sleep
- Low blood sugar
- Caffeine withdrawal
- Stress (too many changes)
A severe persistent headache during pregnancy may indicate raised blood pressure so always speak to your midwife or GP if this occurs.
What Types Of Healthy Food Should I Eat During Pregnancy?
During pregnancy, your diet should be focused on bread, other cereals, potatoes and fruit and vegetables with smaller amounts of meat, fish and dairy products. Foods that are high in fat and sugar should be eaten less often and be considered treats.
Healthy Eating Voucher
Am I Entitled To Healthy Eating Vouchers During Pregnancy?
You may be entitled to free plain fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables, milk, infant formula milk, basic vitamin supplements for women with vitamin C, D, folic acid and children with vitamin A, C and D under the Healthy Start scheme.
You qualify if you’re at least 10 weeks pregnant* or have a child under four years old and you or your family receives any of the following:
- Child Tax Credit (with a family income of £16,190 or less per year)
- Universal Credit (with a family take home income of £408 or less per month)
- Income Support
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Pension Credit
You also qualify if you are under 18 and pregnant, even if you don’t get any of the above benefits.
What Healthy Snacks Should I Be Eating During Pregnancy?
Women often feel the need to eat more frequently during pregnancy hoping to combat morning sickness, and to meet the energy demands of the growing baby due to altered blood sugar control.
However eating too many indulgent snacks, such as cakes and biscuits, may result in too much weight being gained. Keep these as treats and try to make healthier snack choices such as: sandwiches or pitta bread with low fat fillings, low-fat yoghurts, hummus and bread or vegetable sticks, a small bowl of unsweetened breakfast cereal, or porridge with milk, milky drinks, fruit, including fresh, ready-to-eat apricots, figs or prunes, tinned in juice or dried such as raisins or apricots, vegetable and bean soups.
Why Do I Suffer From Heartburn When I’m Pregnant?
Gastro-oesophageal reflux, the basis of heartburn during pregnancy, is very common, affecting up to three-quarters of pregnancies. It can start as early as the first trimester, but is generally worst in the third trimester.
Heartburn occurs as a result of increased abdominal pressure and the relaxation of the gastro-oesophageal sphincter due to pregnancy hormones, allowing stomach acid to rise into the lower oesophagus sometimes resulting in a severe burning sensation. ^
Some women may find milk and yoghurt soothing, but the most common remedy is antacids.
High Blood Pressure
What Impact Will High Blood Pressure Have On My Pregnancy?
High blood pressure can indicate a potentially serious condition called pre-eclampsia and is routinely tested during pregnancy. If you have pre-existing high blood pressure, (‘essential hypertension’), your GP can prescribe tablets to keep it under control during pregnancy which won’t affect your baby in any way
^ Dowswell T, Neilson JP (2008) Interventions for Heartburn in pregnancy Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2008 Oct 8;(4): CD007065
Make sure you also check out the rest of our Pregnacare A-Z Guide to Pregnancy and Nutrition:
While every attempt has been made to ensure that the information contained in this guide is accurate and reliable, this is intended as a guide only and not a substitute for advice from a health professional. Please note: Vitabiotics cannot guarantee the reliability of facts obtained from other third party information sources. Information correct at time of being published (May 2020).