Nutrition for Pregnancy

If you plan on starting a family in the near future, it may be time to start considering making some changes to your nutrition, lifestyle and fitness regime.

Remember, eating healthily and maintaining a good level of physical activity during pregnancy is important for you and your baby.

Foods to avoid

When pregnant there are certain foods that women should avoid or eat with caution in order to reduce the risk of food poisoning. These include:

Blue-veined cheese, patè, prepared salads, ready meals, reheated food (unless piping hot), raw meat/poultry/eggs, unpasteurised milk, goats milk, untreated water, alcohol, caffeine, recreational drugs.

Useful nutrients

Food   Sources                

Important For

Vitamin A

Baby’s lungs, maintenance of normal skin and vision

Orange, yellow and green leafy veggies, apricots, eggs, white fish

Folic acid

Important for all rapidly dividing cells

Beans and lentils, asparagus, nuts, green leafy veggies, avocado, corn, coconut, mushrooms, figs, dates, blackberries, beef, eggs, citrus

Iron

Blood production (take with vitamin C foods to increase absorption)

Kelp, whole grains, sunflower seeds, nuts, dried fruit, leafy greens, meat, chicken, fish, eggs, beans and lentils, cheddar cheese, strawberries

Calcium

Bones, teeth, muscles

Dairy foods, green leafy veggies, whole grains, nuts, seeds, raisins, dates, sardines and mackerel with bones, artichoke, oranges, celery, carrot, quinoa, sweet potato, garlic, squash, onion, lentils

Zinc

Cell, brain and sexual development

Red meat, ginger, nuts, legumes, whole grains, oily fish, chicken, turnip, potato

Magnesium   

Growth, nerve and muscle function

Kelp, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, green veggies, dried apricots, prunes, dates, sweetcorn, avocado, cheese, beans, garlic, raisins, banana

Essential Fatty Acids

Brain and nerve development, cell health

Oily fish – sardines, mackerel, tuna, herring, anchovies, salmon, flax seeds


Pay special attention to hygiene

Wash hands thoroughly when cooking, cook meat thoroughly but don’t burn (be careful with BBQ meat), keep raw and cooked food preparation items separate. Wash all fruit and vegetables before eating.

Wear gloves when gardening or changing cat litter trays.


Important

  • Consider a good quality multi-vitamin and mineral supplement, additional vitamin D and Omega 3 supplement.
  • Ideally get fresh, deep cold water/Atlantic /wild oily fish to minimise toxic contamination. The larger the size of the fish species the more likely they are to carry toxins in their flesh so where possible opt for the smaller fish such as sardines, anchovies and mackerel. 
  • Eat organic food where possible.
  • Filter your water and keep well hydrated.


References:

Osieki H (2007). The Nutrient Bible. 7th edn. Australia. Bio concepts publishing
Liska et al (2004). Clinical Nutrition: A Functional Approach 2nd edn. USA. The Institute for Functional Medicine.

Nutritionist Resource is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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