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Eating Well During Pregnancy

Posted on 14/01/2014 in Pregnancy & Baby & Well-Being

During pregnancy you don’t have to eat mountains of food – although you may need a little extra than you would normally. The important thing is to get the right nutrition for yourself and your developing bub, and eat enough kilojoules to meet your energy requirements. As well as adequate vitamins and minerals, you may need more of a few particular nutrients – iron, folate (folic acid), and iodine. 

Meeting extra-nutritional needs

To meet the extra need for folate, it’s recommended that a 400mcg-per-day supplement is taken – before and during the early stages of pregnancy. Folate reduces the risk of neural tube defects in the developing infant. Folate is also found in fortified cereals and breads, green vegetables, legumes, oranges, salmon, some nut varieties, and strawberries. 

Extra iron is also required. The best sources are red meat, and white meat such as chicken or fish. Vegetable sources are also good, but are less-readily absorbed into the system. Taking some high vitamin C foods (such as oranges) with iron-rich foods assists with absorption of the iron. Your healthcare practitioner may recommend an iron supplement during your pregnancy.

Iodine is found in eggs, meat, dairy, seafood, seaweed and iodised salt. Iodine helps maintain a normal-functioning thyroid and adequate intake helps prevent some mental impairment conditions in developing babies.

Generally speaking, you should aim to eat adequate amounts of vegetables and fruits, cereals, lean protein, dairy foods or an alternative, nuts and seeds, and a small amount of quality fats each day. 

Foods to avoid

During pregnancy you carry a higher risk of listeria and salmonella infection. This means you should avoid raw fish and eggs, soft cheeses, unpasteurised dairy products, and deli meats. High-mercury fish should also be avoided, and alcohol should not be consumed. Vitamin A supplements are also not recommended, and spicy foods – while not harmful – may cause discomfort such as heartburn.

A ‘normal’ level of weight gain during pregnancy is 10-13kgs, although if you gain a little more than this there is no need to worry.  

How are you going with your diet during pregnancy? 


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