We all know that a healthy diet and lifestyle is important at any time throughout our life, but it is especially important if you’re pregnant or planning a pregnancy. Eating healthily during pregnancy will help your baby to develop and grow.
You don’t need to follow a special diet, but you need to eat a variety of different foods every day to get the right balance of nutrients that you and your baby need. It’s best to get vitamins and minerals from the foods you eat, but when you’re pregnant you need to take a daily 4,000μg folic acid supplement to prevent neural tube defects.
- Fruits and vegetables– Try to eat at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables every day. These can be fresh, frozen, canned, dried or juiced.
- Starchy carbohydrates– For slow-release energy, vitamins and fibre, starchy carbs like brown bread, potatoes, breakfast cereals, rice, pasta can help you to feel fuller without consuming too many calories.
- Protein– For the baby’s growth and development, sources of protein include meat (except liver), fish, poultry, eggs, beans and pulses.
- Dairy– Dairy products contain calcium for the baby’s teeth as well as other micronutrients including magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, selenium, vitamin A, riboflavin, vitamin B-12. Dairy products include milk, yoghurt, cheese and fromage frais. If you’re dairy free, plant-based alternatives include soya, tofu, broccoli, spinach, chickpeas and fortified milks including oat or almond.
- High fat and/or sugar foods– Try to cut down on ultra-processed foods high in saturated fat and/or sugar for healthy cholesterol levels, stable blood sugars and reduced risk of tooth decay.
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For more information on having a healthy and happy pregnancy, refer to the below sources.