Most women in pregnancy pretty easily tune into the key do’s and don’ts of a diet that’s good for their baby. Cutting out alcohol and cutting down on caffeine, cutting out raw forms of fish and avoiding soft cheeses and other more creamy pre-packed foods that might make your now more fragile constitution very sick – all these habits for most women can be left pretty much to instinct.
Good eating at a glance
There are some key nutrients that your body will need most of all as your pregnancy develops, and a good place to start is getting the essentials right – down to earth foods like wholemeal bread which tick lots of nutritional boxes in one go without you having to search the whole supermarket for obscure ingredients!
Taking a specially-formulated pregnancy supplement which contains things like iron, folic acid and vitamins can also be really useful just to make sure you are getting the right amounts of these things on a daily basis.
They have been known to help with problems large and small – from leg cramps to pre-eclampsia. But it is important to get a supplement that is suitable for pregnancy as you need to avoid too much of certain vitamins at this time in your life.
Women who need to keep an eye on their diet
Whilst many women are these days well aware of eating well all the time, there are certain groups who need to be especially attuned to staying healthy:
- Vegans and vegetarians – There is absolutely no reason why you can’t stick to your dietry beliefs when you are pregnant, but you do need to be aware of key nutrients and where you are sourcing these effectively.
- If you have an allergy – or an aversion to foods that are good sources of pregnancy nutrition. For example, if you are allergic to or cannot bear to drink milk. Or if you have a serious ongoing condition such as coeliac disease, you should talk to your doctor and midwife team as soon as you find out you are pregnant. (Read Eliana’s story of how she beat the odds with coeliac disease to have a beautiful baby!)
- If you smoke or drink alcohol – Now is the time to deal with this if you didn’t manage to before you got pregnant. A baby is the most positive inspiration and your midwife team can be a real support for you. Also, nicotine and alcohol block the goodness you are getting from other food and drink in your diet.
- If you are pregnant with more than one baby – You need to make sure you are eating well not just to feed yourself and your unborn babies, but to ensure that your body is not drained of key nutrient reserves that can affect your body in the long term.
- If you are pregnant again very soon after your last child you also need to think about how your body’s nutritional reserves have been ‘restocked’.
- If you get sick – during your pregnancy or you have an ongoing condition, or if you were very ill just before you got pregnant. Talk to your midwife about this and see if she can arrange some professional nutritional advice for you.
- Also she should be able to make sure that you get all the blood tests needed to check that you are physically well now.