What are the nutrients which you need particularly during pregnancy?
Everything you take as an expectant mom to be passes through the umbilical cord to your baby, you need to be careful with your diet during pregnancy, as your need for certain nutrients increases. But no need to panic - proper nutrition during pregnancy is actually quite easy:2
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding talk to your doctor or pharmacist for advice on treating constipation
For what? Your unborn child needs calcium for skeletal structure and healthy teeth.
Sources: Dairy products and fish with edible bones – such as sardines – are rich in calcium. Breakfast cereals, dried fruit – such as figs and apricots – bread, almonds, tofu (a vegetable protein made from soya beans) and green leafy vegetables – such as watercress, broccoli and curly kale – are other good sources of calcium.
For what? Iron is primarily required for blood formation and plays an important part in transporting oxygen in the body. In addition, you need iron for your growing baby and the placenta.
Sources: The increased need for iron during pregnancy can be met mostly by eating iron-rich foods. Lean meat, green leafy vegetables, dried fruit, and nuts all contain iron. If you'd like to eat peanuts or foods that contain peanuts during 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. Many breakfast cereals have iron added. If the iron level in your blood becomes low, your GP or midwife will advise you to take iron supplements.3,4
Folic acid / folate
For what? Folic acid (also known as vitamin B9) is very important for the development of a healthy foetus, as it can significantly reduce the risk of neural tube defects (NTDs), such as spina bifida.
Sources: For a healthy development of your child, all women who are trying to get pregnant and all expectant mothers (until the end of the first trimester of pregnancy) should have a daily intake of folic acid. Folic acid can be found naturally in green vegetables, legumes, whole grains and fruit.4
Vitamin D in pregnancy
For what? Vitamin D regulates the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body; these are needed to keep bones and teeth healthy.
You need to take vitamin D during your pregnancy to provide your baby with enough vitamin D for the first few months of its life. You can take a supplement of vitamin D each day when you are pregnant and if you breastfeed.
Sources: Vitamin D can be found naturally in oily fish (such as salmon, mackerel and sardines), eggs and meat. Some manufacturers add it to some breakfast cereals, soya products, some dairy products, powdered milk, and fat spreads such as margarine. However, the best source of vitamin D is summer sunlight on your skin.4
Top 3 Tips to help your digestion
Maintaining a healthy diet is one way to prevent constipation during pregnancy. You should adjust your dietary habits early, so they become a natural part of your daily routine. Here are our tips for a healthy digestive system during pregnancy.5
Tip 1: Fibre-rich diet
To prevent constipation, you should have a high fibre diet. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, salads, whole grains and cereals.2
Tip 2: Drink plenty of fluids
You should try to drink plenty of fluids during pregnancy.6
Tip 3: Professional advice
If a change in diet does not help you, consult your doctor before taking a laxative. They can help confirm which laxatives are suitable to use during pregnancy and are even suitable for newborns.
Another tip to improve the health of the mother and child, in addition to diet, is to increase moderate exercise during pregnancy.
These foods you should watch
Some foods are not very safe for your baby. These foods are not dangerous in themselves, but they could contain bacteria or pesticides. Infections can be triggered by some of these foods. During pregnancy, they can move on to the unborn child and have serious consequences for your baby. Therefore, you should avoid the following foods:
- Raw or cured meat (such as sausages and chicken)
- Unpasteurised milk
- Avoid raw or partially cooked eggs
- Avoid shark, swordfish or marlin
- Limit the amount of tuna you eat
- Always eat cooked, rather than raw shellfish (including mussels, lobster, crab, prawns, scallops and clams)
- Make sure to ask how sushi is prepared to ensure any raw wild fish used to make it has been frozen first
- Cheese with a white mold rind such as Brie and Camembert
- Blue cheese such as Stilton, Gorgonzola or Roquefort
- In general, you should avoid raw milk cheese.
Unwashed fruits, vegetables and salads:
- Wash all fruit, vegetables and salads thoroughly before consumption
Alcohol and caffeine
- Avoid alcohol completely
- Drink coffee and tea in moderation: Two to three cups a day are fine.7