Your growing baby depends on you for everything needed for healthy growth and development.
Enjoy a variety of foods. That way you will get all the nutrients and vitamins you need - and try to eat the following every day:
- At least five portions of vegetables and fruit– fresh, frozen, tinned and dried all count. This will give you vitamins, minerals and fibre. Remember that fruit juice counts as only one serving per day no matter how much you drink.
- Three or four portions of wholemeal bread, cereals or potatoes.
- Two portions of meat, poultry, fish, eggs or pulses (lentils, chickpeas etc).
- One pint of milk, some yoghurt, or hard cheese.
- 6-8 glasses of water, squashes or fruit teas.
To help prevent constipation and piles, eat high-fibre foods. Fruit, vegetables, high fibre breakfast cereals, breads, prunes and figs are a good source of fibre.
Keep an eye on how much fat you eat. While some fat is essential, eating a lot of saturated fat is not good for you. Good sources are nuts, seeds, avocado, low-fat dairy products and sunflower oil. Try using olive oil, rich in mono-saturated fats, in salad dressings and cooking.
Say no to salt. We get all we need from every day foods such as bread and cereals. Savour the true flavour of foods by cutting down gradually on salt.
If you are a vegetarian talk to your midwife about whether you need to take any extra vitamins or mineral supplements.
You need 700 micrograms of vitamin A per day when you are pregnant. However, too much of the retinol type of vitamin A can harm your developing baby. Avoid liver, kidneys, cod liver oil and anything containing these products. They contain about 20 times your daily vitamin A needs per serving!
Safe levels of retinol are found in eggs, yoghurts, cheese and milk – these are good for you. Good sources of carotene, or pro-vitamin A, are carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, frozen vegetables, mango, apricots and dried fruits – it is safe to eat as much as you fancy! Always check with your GP or pharmacist before taking any supplement. A pregnancy supplement is ok, but avoid vitamin A supplements and general multivitamin tablets.
Eating little and often
In early pregnancy, several small meals a day are often easier to cope with than two or three large ones. Try these ideas, which will help you make every meal count in that they provide good nutrition for you and your growing baby:
- Well-cooked scrambled egg with grilled tomatoes.
- Wholemeal bagel with cucumber and yeast extract and small salad.
- Fruit salad with bio yogurt and a sprinkling of muesli.
- Sandwiches: try beef and horseradish, cheese and onion, canned salmon and chopped fresh dill, pilchards and a squeeze of lemon, ham and tomato, hard cheese and slices of Kiwi fruit.
- Slice of pizza with salad.
- Cheese, crackers and grapes.
- Hot chocolate with a wholemeal scone and jam.
- Ginger or digestive biscuits with cheese spread.
- A toasted sandwich with cheese, perhaps mozzarella and tomato.
- Mashed potatoes with Cheddar cheese plus some baked beans.
- Home-made soups with plenty of vegetables and pulses (peas, beans, lentils).
- Breadsticks and hummus.
And to drink...? Mix and match, orange juice, apple and mango juice, a glass of milk or fortified soya milk, sparkling water, tomato juice...