Now you are pregnant it’s time to start thinking about your diet. Read on for our top five tips on how to achieve a healthy diet in those first few months.
1. Don’t panic if you can’t face any food at all in the early days!
It’s worth mentioning that you are not alone if the idea of preparing and eating a delicious meal sends you running from the kitchen in the early days of pregnancy. Feelings of sickness can come in waves, often when you least expect it, and, for some of you, this ‘Morning Sickness’ may last long after the morning has turned to afternoon!
The good news? For the vast majority of you it will pass at about the 12 week mark. And don’t worry, your baby will be just fine, even though you may not be eating the most varied or exciting diet for these few weeks or months. It may also be reassuring for you to know that the sickness is caused by high hormone levels in your blood – a sign that the pregnancy is going well. So check out our tips for Morning Sickness if you are struggling with this issue and, fingers crossed, you will be back to eating well and feeling good in no time at all.
2. Eat lots of fruit and vegetables
Ok, so it’s not really rocket science – we all know that fruit and vegetables are good for us, right? Well even more reason to pop them at the top of every shopping list now that you are pregnant. Not only are they good for you but they are really good for your baby too – packed full of lots of things you both need!
Eat a rainbow of fruit and veg, the more colours, the more nutrients!
As the baby grows and your body shape changes, fresh fruit and vegetables can really help to keep your insides healthy. And the wide array of colours on offer on your supermarket shelves may entice you to try some new fruits or vegetables. Which ones are the best? Why not try to eat a rainbow! The more different coloured foods you choose, the better the mix of powerful vitamins you and your baby will be getting each day.
So chop some strawberries onto your porridge, mix a handful of blueberries with a natural yogurt for a mid-morning snack and pack your lunchtime sandwich with ripe, red tomatoes and a selection of fresh greens. Now you have the picture!
3. Don’t ditch the folic acid supplements just yet…
If you have been taking your daily folic acid tablet while trying to conceive, keep it going once you find out you are pregnant. Folic acid supplements are advised to help with the healthy growth of the baby’s spinal cord and the brain. It is a good idea to continue with your tablet each day until you enter the 4th month of your pregnancy. Of course the baby’s brain and spine will grow long after that time, but the really important work for the folic acid is in the early days of your pregnancy.
And, of course, if this pregnancy is a surprise (almost half of all pregnancies in Ireland each year are, you know), then just start to take the folic acid as soon as you find out the happy news and continue taking it again until the 4th month.
4. Drink lots of fluids
Lots of water, some milk for your bones, fresh fruit juices and not too much tea and coffee – all of these drinks will help to top up your fluid intakes now you are pregnant. As your body changes and grows, so too does your blood supply, increasing the amount of blood flowing through your veins. This increased volume means you need to drink a little more so make sure to drink regularly and do not wait until you feel thirsty. Fill a drinks bottle with fresh water each morning and have it on your desk or in your fridge to reach for during the day. If you are feeling any morning sickness in the early days, drinking water is very important – dehydration can increase the feelings of sickness so try to sip on water or juice throughout the day, even if you don’t feel like eating. If you are pregnant during a warm Summer, drinking fluids regularly becomes even more vital so remember to keep the water on tap.
5. Don’t eat twice as much…..Eat twice as well!
You may be tempted to use your pregnancy as an excuse to eat whatever you fancy, whenever you fancy.. but remember a healthy diet now will have long lasting benefits for both you and your baby.
Now that you are pregnant, you need to choose foods that are high in vitamins and lower in processed sugars and fats. Choose lots of fresh foods and steer clear of highly processed, packaged foods – these foods tend to be higher in calories and fat and may leave you with extra weight to try to deal with after your baby arrives.
You need slightly more calories, protein, calcium, iron, some B vitamins (including Folate) and vitamin C. These extras can be found by including an extra glass of milk or a yogurt to your diet, snacking on fresh fruit, choosing lean meat or fish for mealtimes and adding salad vegetables or cooked greens to your dinner plate each day.
So you don’t need to eat for two – just choose wisely and keep it fresh for the best chance of hitting the healthy eating target. Check out our recipe section for some quick and tasty ideas.
If you would like some more advice on your diet why not contact our Careline.