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home>>family>>pregnancy>>healthy eating during pregnancy

Healthy Eating During Pregnancy


A healthy diet is very important If you are trying to concieve and more so if you are pregnant. Eating healthily will help your baby develop and grow and also help keep you well and fit. You don't need a special diet but you do need to eat a variety of different foods every day in order to get the right balance of nutrients both you and the baby need. Being pregnant doesn't mean that you have to eat for two. It's the quality not the quantity that's important. You don't have to give up all your favorite foods just add a variety of different foods to your diet. If you are under 12 weeks pregnant or are trying to conceive then you should be taking folic acid, this can help prevent birth defects such as Spina Bifida. Ask your doctor for advice on folic acid. Below is a table of other vitamins and minerals you should take, as well as a list of foods you should be eating or avoiding.

Foods groups to eat Why they should be eaten Foods to avoid / Precautions Vitamins & minerals
Fruit & vegetables. Fresh, frozen or canned. Salad and dried fruit. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables as these provide all the vitamins, minerals, fibre that helps digestion and prevents constipation. Eat them lightly cooked in a little water or raw to get the most out of them. Drink lots of fruit juices also. Thoroughly wash fruit and vegetables including ready prepared salads to remove all traces of soil. Top and peel carrots before eating them. Green leaf vegetables, (like cabbage, spinach) lean meat, dried fruit and nuts contain iron. Make sure to eat plenty of the foods that contain iron this will keep your strength up and stop you feeling tired all the time.
Meat, fish, alternatives Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans/pulses and nuts. Lean meats, fish, poultry, eggs, pulses and nuts are all good sources of nutrients. Try to eat all of these daily. Do not eat liver or liver products it contains to much vitamin A that can be harmful to your baby. Cook all meat, poultry thoroughly so there is no traces of blood.Wash all surfaces and utensils after preparing meat. Use a separate chopping board for meat and veg. Make sure all pre-cooked poultry and meals are thoroughly cooked before eating them. Fish with edible bones (like sardines) dairy products, bread, nuts and green vegetables are all rich in calcium which is vital for bones and teeth.
Bread, cereals, potatoes. Bread, potatoes, cereals, pasta, rice, oats, noodles, maize and cornmeal. Starchy foods like bread, potatoes, pasta, rice and breakfast cereal are an important part of any diet and should go with meat or vegetables to form part of any meal. They don't contain to many calories and are an important source of vitamins and fibre. Eat wholemeal bread and wholegrain cereals as much as you can. Make sure eggs are thoroughly cooked until the whites and yolks are solid to prevent the risk of salmonella food poisoning. Avoid foods containing raw eggs like homemade mayonnaise, cheese cake or mousse. Citrus fruit, tomatoes, broccoli, blackcurrents and potatoes are good sources of vitamin C which you need to help you absorb iron.
Milk & dairy foods Yoghurt, milk, Fromage frais , cheese and butter. Make these as part of the main meal. Dairy foods are very important as they contain calcium and other nutrients needed for your baby's development. Choose low fat varieties. Drink only pasturised or UHT milk. Don't eat or drink any goats or sheep's products. Avoid all types of pate and mould-ripened soft cheese, like brie, stilton, or Danish blue because of the risk of listeria. Margarine and oily fish like sardines contain vitamin D to keep your bones healthy.

Only eat foods containing fat or sugar (like cakes, crisps, pastries, .etc.) in small amounts.

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