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Eating Well for Pregnancy
Emma Carder RD RNutr MBDA: Posted on Monday, June 27, 2011 12:40 PM
Eating Well for
Eating well and staying active
before, during and after your
pregnancy will benefit both you
and your baby. On this blog I
answer some commonly asked
questions .......
Should I be “eating for two” during my pregnancy?
Whilst you are pregnant it is a myth that you need to “eat for two”. The
average woman does not need any extra calories for the first six months
of pregnancy and only about 200 extra calories per day for the last three
months. Your own appetite and hunger signals are the best indication of
how much food you need to eat and you may find that it changes during
the course of yourpregnancy.
If you are concerned about being under or overweight before, during or
after your pregnancy your GP, midwife or health visitor will be able to
advice you. It is important not to attempt to lose weight during your
pregnancy as this can affect your baby's weight, and may stop you from
getting all the nutrients that you both need.
Do I need to take a vitamin and mineral supplement?
If you eat a healthy balanced diet you
should not be short of any of the
essential nutrients you need during
Folic acid and Vitamin D are currently
the only vitamins that are recommended
in a supplement form during pregnancy.
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Folic Acid
Folic acid helps to protect your unborn baby from developing neural tube
birth defects e.g. spina bifida. If you are trying to conceive then the
right time to take a folic acid supplement is NOW and continue each day
until the end of your 12th week of pregnancy. You need 400mcg of folic
acid each day; some women require a higher dose which is only available
from their GP. More information can be found at the newly launched campaign
Vitamin D
Vitamin D is often called the “sunshine vitamin” as most of our vitamin D
comes from our skin’s exposure to UVB sunlight during April toOctober.
Only a few foods contain Vitamin D. Our main source comes from oily
fish, much smaller amounts are found in meat & egg yolks. It is
compulsory in the UK to fortify infant formulas & margarines with Vit D.
Breakfast cereals, some soya & dairy products may also be voluntary
All pregnant and breastfeeding women should take a 10µg VitD
supplement. This helps your body to absorb calcium which is important
for the development of your baby's bones, ensures your breast milk is rich
enough to supply all your baby's needs once they are born and helps to
replete your depleted stores.
Healthy Start vitamins, free for eligible women, contain vitamin D. You
may be able to buy these locally or obtain them from your GP,
heathvisitor or midwife. For more information visit
Are oily fish safe to eat in pregnancy?
Oily fish contain omega 3
fatty acids which are
needed for your baby's
brain and nerve
development in late
pregnancy. Omega-3
essential fatty acids are
derived mainly from oily
fish such as: mackerel,
herring, salmon, sardines &
fresh tuna. Due to levels of
mercury found in these fish current advice recommends limiting them to
no more than two portions per week. For the same reason shark,
swordfish and marlin should be avoided.
Vegetarian sources of omega 3 fatty acids includethe oils of walnut, soy
bean, linseed /flax seed.
These can be used as salad dressings or in stir fries etc...
What is a safe amount of caffeine to have in pregnancy?
Eating or drinking too much
caffeine during pregnancy may
result in your baby having a lower
birth weight than it should.
Caffeine occurs naturally in a
range of foods, such as coffee,
tea and chocolate, and it's also
added to some soft drinks and
'energy' drinks.
It is advisable to limit the amount
of caffeine you consume each day. The recommended upper limit is
200mg of caffeine per day during pregnancy, which is 2 mugs of instant
coffee or 1 of freshly brewed coffee or 4 cups of tea.
Can I eat peanuts during my pregnancy?
If you wish to eat peanuts or foods containing peanuts
such as peanut butter during your pregnancy, you can do
so as part of a healthy balanced diet, unless you're
allergic to them or your health professional advises you
not to.
In the past women were advised to avoid eating
peanuts during pregnancy if there was a history of
allergy (such as asthma,eczema, hay fever or food
allergy) in their baby’s immediate family. This advice
changed in 2009 as the latest research shows that
there's no clear evidence that eating peanuts during pregnancy affects the
chances of your baby developing a peanut allergy.
Categories: Nutrition &
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