Will I need to change the way I eat when I am pregnant?
Probably. In fact, you will probably need to change the way you eat before you get pregnant. You will also need to start taking a multivitamin that has folic acid in it.
Eating the right foods will help your baby’s development. Your baby will need nutrients from these foods to form normally and grow. You will have to replace these nutrients to stay healthy and have all the energy you need.
Which foods should I eat?
The best diet for you and your baby will include lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, some low-fat dairy products, and a few sources of protein, such as meat, fish, eggs, or dried peas or beans. If you do not eat dairy foods, you will need to get calcium from other sources.
If you are a vegetarian, speak to a dietician (food expert) about your food choices. Vegetarian diets can sometimes be missing nutrients that are important for a growing baby.
Should I prepare food differently?
Maybe. You need to use good hygiene practices when preparing food.
Here’s what you should do:
- Wash your hands well with soap and water before you handle food.
- Make sure to fully cook fish, chicken, beef, eggs, and other meats.
- Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables under lots of running water before you eat them.
- When you have prepared the food, wash your hands and anything that touched raw meat or deli meats with hot soapy water. This includes countertops, cutting boards, and knives and spoons.
To reduce the risk of infection in food, you should also avoid foods such as:
- Unpasteurised milk, cheese, or other dairy products.
Which foods should I avoid?
You should avoid certain types of fish and all forms of alcohol. You should also limit the amount of caffeine in your diet.
- Fish – Fish is a very healthy food and good for your baby’s development. You can eat all types of fish and seafood that are low in mercury for example canned light tuna and salmon, fresh tuna and salmon, barramundi, flathead, whiting, ling, snapper. . You should not eat types of fish that could have a lot of mercury in them ( usually large fish) which include shark, swordfish, king mackerel, marlin.
- Alcohol – You should avoid alcohol completely.
- Caffeine – Limit the amount of caffeine in your diet by not drinking more than 1 or 2 cups of coffee each day. Your heart rate is naturally increased in pregnancy and high amounts of caffeine sometimes make your heart race faster and you will unwell.
What are prenatal vitamins?
Prenatal vitamins are vitamin supplements that you take the month before and all through your pregnancy. These vitamins, which also contain minerals (iron, calcium), help make sure that your baby has all the building blocks he or she needs to form healthy organs. Prenatal vitamins help lower the risk of birth defects and other problems.
What should I look for in prenatal vitamins?
Choose a multivitamin that has at least 400 micrograms of folic acid in it. Folic acid is important in preventing certain birth defects ( particularly of the spine).
How much weight should I gain?
That will depend on how much you weigh to begin with. In general, a woman who is a healthy weight should gain 12 to 16 kilograms during her pregnancy. A woman who is overweight or obese should gain less weight.