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Pregnancy nutrition: A guide to healthy eating by Whimsical Mumblings

Sarah Whimsical MumblingsPregnancy blogger Sarah of Whimsical Mumblings shares her tips for pregnancy nutrition and healthy eating.

Maintaining a healthy, balanced and varied diet during pregnancy is essential. You do not need to specifically plan what you eat, nor do you need to ‘eat for two’ (don’t believe the rumours).

All you have to do is ensure you eat a variety of fresh, unprocessed food and ensure you get all the nutrients you need. As soon as you find out you are pregnant, you need to think more about eating the right foods. Increase your intake of raw vegetables and fresh fruit, and decrease your intake of sugary, salty, processed foods.

Essential Nutrients

Calcium
Helps your baby to develop bones and teeth, as well as protecting your bone density and can also help prevent high blood pressure. Your baby will use a lot of the calcium in your body, so you will need to double the amount. You can get your calcium from:

– Low Fat Milk
– Oranges
– Low Fat Cheese
– Yogurt
– Sardines
– Brazil Nuts

Fibre
Should form a large part of your daily diet. Constipation is common in pregnancy, and having a lot of fibre in your diet will help prevent this. You can get your fibre from:

– Wholemeal Bread
– Wholemeal Pasta
– Leeks
– Rice
– Peas
– Strawberries
– Raspberries

Protein
Your needs increase during pregnancy, so try to eat a variety of protein rich foods. Limit your intake of animal sources though, as they can be high in fat. You can get your protein from:

– Poultry & lean red meat
– Eggs
– Fish
– Yogurt
– Pulses

Vitamin C
Will help to build a strong placenta, help your body to fight infection and will also help boost your iron intake. Eat fresh produce, and eat plenty of raw vegetables (or steam cook them instead), vitamin C is needed in your daily diet, as it cannot be stored in the body. You can get your vitamin C from:

– Cabbage
– Brussels Sprouts
– Oranges
– Tomatoes
– Grapefruit
– Potatoes
– Cauliflower

Vitamin B
Helps your body to form new red blood cells and antibodies. It is vital to your baby’s developing brain and nervous system. Can also help prevent morning sickness! You can get your vitamin B from:

– Poultry
– Wholemeal Cereals
– Eggs
– Pork

Folic Acid
Helps to develop the baby’s central nervous system, especially in early stages. Daily supply of Folic acid is needed, as pregnancy excretes several times the normal amount (you are often given folic acid supplements when pregnant). You can get your folic acid from:

– Broccoli
– Spinach
– Pulses
– Wholemeal Bread

Iron
Needed in high amounts. Baby will build up stores needed for after the birth, and the extra blood in your body needs iron to carry oxygen. You can get your Iron from:

– Tuna
– Lean red meat
– Spinach
– Dried Fruit

Potassium
Plays an important in maintaining fluid and electrolyte balance. It is also important in helping your muscles contract and releasing energy. If you suffer from muscle cramps during pregnancy, try increasing your potassium intake. You can get your potassium from:

– Salmon
– Tuna
– Eggs
– Yogurt
– Mushrooms

Increase your fluid intake
During pregnancy you need to increase your fluid intake, to help keep your kidneys healthy, preventing constipation and dehydration. Water is best, drink as much as you like!

Decrease your sugar, salt, caffeine and processed foods intake

– Highly processed foods should be avoided
– Reduce, or cut out your caffeine intake
– Sugary foods are low in nutrients but high in calories, cut down on sweet things
– Try to reduce the amount of salt you consume
– Avoid alcohol & cigarettes