Updated: Aug 10, 2020
You’re pregnant – congratulations! It’s going to be one wild and wonderful ride. Feeling apprehensive? That’s totally normal. I’m on my third pregnancy and I’m still nervous!
Pregnancy is different for everyone. Some women find it challenging, others think it’s a walk in the park. We all hope for an easy pregnancy. But like everything in life, it’s out of our control.
One thing within our control though is what we put into our body. Being the research nerd that I am, and seeing that I’ve done this thing a few times now, I thought I would share with you some tips on healthy eating during pregnancy.
Spoiler alert: I don’t follow these tips perfectly. I try my best! That’s all you can do.
5 Tips For Healthy Eating During Pregnancy
1. Be aware of pregnancy myths
Okay, this is a big one. There’s soooo much information out there! And everyone has an opinion on the best diet and most beneficial lifestyle for your body and baby. Like everything, some information is accurate, some not. My tip? Just be wary.
Take the “eat for two” advice. Sorry, to break it to you but this is incorrect and outdated. Did you know you’re only meant to eat around 300-400 extra calories a day? That’s equivalent to a small to a medium-sized meal – not double your intake!
Another food myth? You’ll have strange cravings. Although some women will crave weird food during pregnancy, many won’t.
So remember, just be wary of pregnancy myths. Do your own research. But most of all, listen to your body first.
2. Eat small meals every 2-3 hours
You may not need much more food while you’re pregnant but many women find they need to eat more regularly.
Eating regularly has a few benefits. If you suffer from nausea, eating makes you feel better (for the time being anyway). You’re also burning more calories throughout the day, so eating regular meals keeps you on an even keel.
You may also be less inclined to eat big meals further along in your pregnancy (this is me). Eating small, regular meals allows you to get your calorie intake in during the day without doing it in one go.
Again, it all depends on your body. Everyone’s hunger and eating patterns are different, so get attuned to what feels good for you.
3. Make wholefoods your staple
Now, this is a tip for everyone, pregnant or not. And I’m sure you’re all sick of hearing it! Wholefoods are your best friend, particularly during pregnancy.
Fruit, vegetables and complex carbohydrates give your baby the nutrients to grow. Vitamins like, A and C, folic acid, potassium, fibre, iron and magnesium are super important.
Quick tips for a healthy diet? Try to eat a balance mix of:
Meat, dairy and legumes are also an important part of nutrition (depending on your normal diet). You can read more about a balanced pregnancy diet here.
4. Remember the foods and drinks you should avoid
Here comes an annoying tip – remember the foods and drinks you need to avoid or consume little of. Remember to do your research.
Caffeine (you can have one cup of espresso or one tea)
Raw or half-cooked eggs
Some fish and shellfish
5. Make sure you’re absorbing necessary nutrients
While you’re pregnant, it’s important to make sure you’re getting all the nutrients your baby needs to grow.
You should try to get as many nutrients as you can from your diet (see tip 3), but to make sure you’re covering your bases, your doctor may advise you to take supplements.
Some of the supplements your doctor may prescribe are:
Folic acid – prevents neural tube defects.
Iodine – essential to your baby’s brain development.
Iron supplements – your body needs more iron during pregnancy.
The supplements you take will depend on your body and diet.
Be kind to yourself and enjoy the ride
My biggest tip? Be kind to yourself. We all have cravings and that's okay! Indulge every once and a while. Don’t be too hard on yourself. We can only do the best we can.
I wish you a healthy and happy pregnancy!