Your nutrition during pregnancy

Throughout your pregnancy week by week your body will be changing as your baby grows bigger and stronger. One of the most important things you can do right now is ensure your diet is a healthy one, incorporating all the necessary vitamins and minerals you both need.

It’s important to eat a variety of foods during pregnancy week by week. Try to make sure your diet includes:

o Five portions of fruit and vegetables a day (fresh, frozen, tinned, dried or fruit juice formats all count).

o Potatoes, bread and pasta (wholegrain options if possible) to keep energy levels up.

o Lean meat, chicken, white fish, eggs (make sure the eggs are well cooked), beans and lentils for protein.

o Two portions of fish a week, including one of oily fish (e.g. mackerel or salmon) – these provide important fatty acids for the mental and physical growth of the baby.

o Dairy foods such as milk, some types of cheese (such as cheddar, parmesan and cottage cheese) and yoghurt – these contain calcium for building bones. Use low fat varieties where possible.

Things to avoid

During pregnancy your defences against stomach bugs and food poisoning can be lower than usual so make sure you avoid:

o Cheese that is made with mould, such as Camembert, Brie or goat’s cheese, and any soft blue cheese or unpasteurised cheese as these may contain the bacteria listeria that can harm the baby.

o All types of pâté, including vegetable pâté, as this can also contain listeria.

o Raw or partially cooked eggs or any foods based on raw eggs (e.g.

ice cream or mayonnaise) to avoid salmonella food poisoning.

o Raw fish, shellfish and raw meat – always make sure food is well cooked.

o Liver products because they contain a lot of vitamin A. You do need some vitamin A but too much can harm the baby. Supplements containing vitamin A should also be avoided.

o Deep sea fish such as shark, swordfish or marlin, and you should have no more than two tuna steaks or four cans of tuna a week, as these can contain traces of mercury which can harm the baby’s nervous system.

Further advice

To avoid any chance of food poisoning:

o Always ask for food to be well-done and be especially careful at BBQs.

o Make sure you wash your hands after touching raw meat, as raw meat contains bacteria that can cause food poisoning.

It is also a good idea to cut down on high fat and high sugar foods such as cakes, biscuits and sugary drinks to avoid putting on too much weight while you are pregnant.

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