The Fertility Detective

  Helping you sow the seeds of life

A balanced diet during pregnancy

Contrary to popular belief, new evidence is suggesting that mother’s diet during pregnancy can not only affect the outcome of the pregnancy but also impact on the long-term health of child. For example, if a mother has a low calorie or low protein diet when pregnant the child has an increased chance of obesity in later life. Bearing this in mind you should:

FOODS TO ENJOY

Fruits and Vegetables (5 portion a day)
These contain essential vitamins, minerals and fibre vital for yours and your developing foetus growth. Choose a variety that can be raw, steamed, roasted, dried or juiced.

Essential Fats (1 portion a day)
1 handful a day of seeds and nuts a day
2 portions (6oz) oily fish a week. Choose from salmon, trout, tuna and sardines.
Essential fats help form your baby’s brain and nervous system

Protein (2-3 portions equalling 60- 70g a day)
Protein is vital for babies growth & development and also contains as iron and vitamins. Eating foods rich in vitamin C with your meal will aid absorption of iron. Choose lamb, chicken, turkey, eggs, white fish, game, beans and lentils. Recent research has shown that children born to mothers who ate low protein diets are at an increased chance of being obese and/or becoming insulin resistant.

How to get your 60 – 70g of protein a day
• 1 egg = 7g of protein
• 1 lamb chop = 25g protein
• 25g of seeds = 5-7g protein
• 1 chicken breast = 30g protein
• 1 fish fillet = 22g protein
• 1 tbsp hummus = 2g protein
• 1 yoghurt = 8g protein
• Cheese = 10g per oz
• Beans = 8g per half cup

Carbohydrates (4 portions per day of grains a day)
Bread, cereals, oats, rice, pasta, potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, buckwheat & barely etc give you energy as well as minerals and vitamins. Choose something from this group at every meal.

Milk, Cheese and Yoghurt (1 portion a day)
These contain calcium and vitamin D and are needed for healthy bones and teeth. Choose:
1 pint of milk or equivalent per day. If you drink soya, buy a brand that is fortified with calcium.
These foods have the same amount of calcium as 1 small glass or 1/3 pint of milk:
1 small carton yoghurt 25g hard cheese 50g sardines

Other alternatives to cow’s milk are pasteurised goats, sheep’s milk products or rice milk or oat milk. Excess soy products when pregnant is not advisable as it can interfere with the babies own hormones

Fatty and sugary foods
Try to eat these as little as possible. When you do, just have small amounts. They contain empty calories with no benefit to you or your baby

Calories
You need an extra 300 calories a day when pregnant and 500 for breast-feeding. Pregnancy is not the time to cut back on food! Enjoy a wide range of food – but don’t overeat. Recent studies have shown that if a mother has restricted calories during pregnancy the child is more likely to overweight in later life and that overeating in pregnancy may increase the chances of your child developing insulin resistance (the pre-cursor to diabetes)

Organic Food
This is particularly important during the first few weeks of pregnancy when the vulnerable foetus is developing. The foetus is very sensitive to damage.

FOODS TO AVOID DURING PREGNANCY

1. Mercury-High Fish
Certain types of fish that are very high in mercury, which is a dangerous chemical for foetuses. The main fish to avoid are swordfish, mackerel, and shark. The FSA recommends no more than 4 medium sized cans tuna each week for the same reason.
2. Alcohol and Caffeine
These rob nutrients needed for you developing child. Don’t forget caffeine is in chocolate and cola drinks. No more than 1-2 units of alcohol a week is recommended.
3. Raw Fish, Shellfish and Sushi
Raw meat such as sushi, seafood, rare or uncooked beef, or poultry because of the risk of contamination with coliform bacteria, toxoplasmosis, and salmonella.
4. Undercooked or Raw Eggs
Raw eggs, or foods containing raw egg such as Caesar dressing, mayonnaise, homemade ice cream or custard, unpasteurized eggnog, or Hollandaise sauce because raw eggs may be contaminated with salmonella. Bought mayo is ok.
5. Unpasteurized Milk and Juice
This goes right along with the raw eggs and raw meat topics. Milk is an animal product and unless it is pasteurised, it can have a lot of bacteria in it. Juice is full of sugar and is a rich breeding ground for bacteria as well. Be sure both are pasteurised.
6. Herbs
There are many herbs that are very dangerous to your pregnancy. Never assume that a herb is safe until you talk to your doctor about it. This goes for herbal teas, herbal pills and other tonics.
8. Soft Cheese
Soft cheese such as blue cheese, feta, Brie, Camembert, and Latin American soft white cheeses such as queso blanco and queso fresco because they may harbour harmful bacteria.
9. Green Potatoes and Deli Meats (and unwashed salad bags)
Potatoes, which have, green patches; this indicates a concentration of Solanin, which is poisonous and can cause damage to the baby. Deli meats and tinned meats contain high amounts of nitrates and can be cancerous. Wash all prepared salads.
10. Liver and pates
These are high in vitamin A; excess can cause damage to your foetus

Vitamins and Minerals during Pregnancy

Optimum nutrient intake can greatly improve your chances of having a healthy pregnancy with fewer complications, resulting in a healthier and heavier baby. Vitamins are ‘vital’ to life and ensuring you have these in your diet will greatly improve your baby’s health and your health during pregnancy.

Your requirements for vitamins and minerals increase during pregnancy so we recommended that you take a daily supplement alongside your healthy diet avoid any deficiencies.

Please click here to learn more about the specific vitmains and minerals that you may need to take, with details of their benefits and when they should be taken.

Higher Nature produce a supplement called ‘Mums-2-Be’ that will help you reach these levels. In addition you will need to take an oil to supplement the DHA such as Nordic Naturals' ‘Pro-DHA’ and probiotics such as Biocare’s Bioacidophilus if you or your family have a tendency towards allergies, eczema or asthma.

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