Research is now suggesting that the health of both biological parents prior to conception can influence the health of the baby all the way through adulthood so it is very important that both partners are as healthy as possible when trying to conceive. This means following a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight. It is also recommended that women who are trying to conceive avoid drinking alcohol as alcohol negatively affects the growth of the baby, even in the early stages of pregnancy straight after conception.
What nutrients are important for health during pregnancy?
During pregnancy, there is an increased requirement for certain nutrients that are important for the development of the baby and the health of the mother. Important nutrients include:
- Folic acid
Some nutrients, like folic acid, are especially important in the very early stages of pregnancy so it is recommended that you increase your intake of these nutrients before trying to conceive. This is usually best achieved by taking a pregnancy multivitamin as well as following a healthy balanced diet.
What foods should I avoid?
Pregnant women are at a greater risk of food poisoning and it is recommended you avoid certain foods to minimise this risk. These foods include:
- Soft cheeses such as camembert, brie, fetta, ricotta
- Deli meats such as salami, mortadella, prosciutto
- Pre-prepared salads and sandwiches from cafes or service stations
- Raw eggs
- Fish that may contain high levels of mercury: no more than one serve (100g cooked) per fortnight
It is also strongly recommended that pregnant women avoid alcohol, cigarettes and illegal drugs and speak to their GP before taking any herbal remedies or supplements.
How much weight should I put on?
It is important to know that even though there are recommendations for how much weight is an appropriate amount to gain (this ranges from 5-15kg, depending on your weight prior to conception), the actual amount of weight someone ends up gaining during pregnancy varies from person to person, and the recommendations are there as a guide.
Physical activity during pregnancy.
Being physically active whilst pregnant has a number of benefits, including:
- Helping to manage stress and fatigue
- Relief of aches and pains
- Improved posture and balance
- Lower blood pressure
- Helping your body get in better shape for labour
It is recommended that pregnant women enjoy physical activity as often as possible and choose low impact exercise towards the end of the pregnancy, such as swimming. There are many group fitness classes designed especially for pregnant women.
Accredited Practising Dietitians are qualified to provide nutrition advice relating to pregnancy. For information about booking a nutrition consultation with an Allied Nutrition dietitian, please click HERE or phone us to discuss your requirements.