A common saying, we have when someone is pregnant is that you ‘now have to eat for two. Nutritionally is this required? It is not necessarily that you must eat double but certainly, a variety of foods and slight increases during different stages during pregnancy are recommended.
For vegetarians, it is very important to make sure you have enough protein intake for you and your growing baby. Higher protein sources include lentils (daals), beans, tofu, and egg, for example. Having B12 vitamins and fish oil or omega oils are also essential in addition to folate/folic acid for babies’ brain development. Vitamin D, Iodine and Iron are also especially important in making sure your and your baby’s health will be at its best. If you are unsure, you can request your doctor to check up on how your nutrient levels are and if you require a supplement. Prenatal supplements and folic acid are recommended for at least the first three months of your pregnancy however, you should always follow the advice of your doctor.
Eating for each trimester:
Many but not all would experience morning sickness or nausea at some time during the day. During the first trimester, it may be a challenge to eat as much as you normally do. To assist in reducing your nausea try the following:
- Eat small, frequent meals.
- Drink plenty of fluids (water)
- You may like to increase your dairy if you are not able to eat much in the form of lassi, yogurt or cheese.
- Have at least 2 serves of fruit throughout the day, if you cannot, you can have a small amount of fruit juice.
- Add ginger or lemon to water may help nausea.
- Avoid having long gaps between meals or snacks.
- Have frequent snacks during the day.
By now you may start to get your appetite back. Your nutritional requirements have slightly increased but still not up to double the amount you eat. An extra serving of fruit in addition to a well-balanced diet should help you meet your body’s increased requirements.
As you near the end of your pregnancy and your baby is ready to meet you, your nutritional requirements are slightly higher however, with a few extra snacks, you should be able to easily meet this requirement. By adding 2-3 more additional snacks to your balanced diets such as extra servings of yogurts and fruits you should be able to provide yourself and your baby with all it needs. Make sure to keep your fluid intake up, so you are well hydrated.
Foods to avoid
As you are growing a new life your immune system needs a chance to work its best. Some foods can disrupt this and are better avoided during pregnancy. Make sure to look at food labels and follow instructions on storage.
- Any raw meats, fish or eggs
- Unpasteurized dairy products
- Sprouted seeds.
- Cold meats
- Pre-prepared salads
- Soft serve ice-cream
- Soft cheeses (such as ricotta and feta)
- Fish high in mercury such as flake
- No more than 2 cups (200mg caffeine) coffee/tea per day
Things to do to increase food safety.
- Cut raw meats using separate knives and chopping boards.
- Wash vegetables and salads well
- Cook foods to a high temperature.
- Wash hands regularly
Quick and easy snack ideas:
- Peanut butter on toast
- Cooked eggs
- Toast and soup
- Milkshake or smoothie
Overall, your dietary requirements may depend on you as an individual and you may need slightly different advice to the above.
Please note this advice is general. If you have any concerns or queries you should get tailored advice from an Accredited Practicing Dietitian and always consult with your General Practitioner before making any changes.
By Deevya Gupta