Top tips for healthy eating in pregnancy
don’t eat for two! Only an extra 200 calories a day in the last three months is needed. This is two slices of bread or a medium jacket potato or a bowl of fruit and low fat yogurt or 2 glasses of semi skimmed milk
don't diet to lose weight. If you are concerned about your weight at the start of your pregnancy, talk to your midwife
eat a healthy, balanced diet. Each day aim to have:
- Carbohydrates at every meal (eg. bread, rice, chapatti, potatoes) - choose wholegrain varieties which can be filling and a source of fibre without adding lots of calories.
- 5 portions of fruit and vegetables - fresh, frozen, tinned, dried and juiced all count
- 2 sources of protein (e.g. lean meat, fish, eggs, beans, tofu) May of these contain iron which is also important
- 3 portions of milk and dairy foods - alternatives (eg. soya) should have added calcium
- Limited foods high in fat and sugar to stop excess weight gain
Eat oily fish once a week but no more than twice a week (eg. sardines, salmon, mackerel)
Take a supplement of 400 micrograms folic acid daily before pregnancy and during the first 3 months (speak to your GP or midwife as this may need to be increased to 5 milligrams)
Adequate vitamin D is recommended by safe sun exposure and a supplement of 10 micrograms of vitamin D daily throughout pregnancy and whilst breastfeeding. Asky your midwife for your free supply of Healthy Start Vitamins
Avoid alcohol completely
Caffeine - limit your intake and speak to your midwife for safe limits. It is found in cola, coffee, tea, energy drinks and some medications
Peanuts are safe to eat unless you have a nut allergy or have been advised differently by a healthcare professional
Food Safety/Foods to Avoid
Avoid foods that increase the risk of food poisoning. These include
- Raw/undercooked eggs and products containing thse (e.g. homemade mayonnaise)
- Uncooked soft ripened cheese (e.g. brie and camembert)
- Soft blue veined cheese (e.g. Danish Blue and gorgonzola)
- Unpasteurised dairy products
Cook all meat and poultry thoroughly
Do not eat shark, marlin, swordfish or raw shellfish
Limit tuna to 2 fresh steaks or 4 cans per week
High does of vitamin A can be harmful - avoid multivitamins containing vitamin A and avoid eating liver and liver products such as pate
Your midwife or dietitian can provide you with more information
Eat little and often choosing bland, starchy, non-greasy foods such as dry toast, crackers and crispbreads.
Avoid fatty, acidic and spicy foods.
Drink plenty of fluids and eat high fibre foods such as wholegrain cereals and carbohydrates.
These top tips act as a summary and are a guide for the general population. If you have health concerns or require further information contact your midwife.
- British Dietetic Association (BDA)
- Eat Well Plate
- Healthy Start
- Best beginnings
- BMI healthy weight calculator
- Food a fact of life
- British Dietetics Association
For further information, please contact us:
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