Eating a balanced died during pregnancy can help to protect your health and your baby .
It's also a good idea to eat healthily if you're trying to conceive because a healthy pregnancy starts well before conception .
Take at least 400 micro-grams of folic acid a day while you're trying to get pregnant,and during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy . Folic acid reduces the risk of your baby having a neural tube defect ,such as spina bifida . Folic acid tablets are widely avaible from pharmacies , or you can talk to your GP about getting a prescription.
Don't worry if you get pregnant unexpectedly and weren't taking folic acid supplements . Start taking them as soon as you find you find out, unil you're past the first 12 weeks of pregnancy .Do take folic acid supplements every day .DO eat plenty of food rich in folate (the natural form of folic acid) such as green leafy vegetables, including spinach and watercress,nuts,pulses,wholegrains and fruit juice .
- Don't take supplements that contain vitamin A because vit A cause foetal abnormalities .
- Don't eat liver or products that contain it such as pat .
- when you drink ,alcohol reaches your baby through the placenta .Too much exposure to alcohol can seriously affect your baby's development .If you're trying to conceive or already pregnant the government advises that you should avoid drinking alcohol .
If you choose to drink:
- Don't have more than one or two units once or twice a week and don't drink enough to feel drunk .
Getting pregnant may be more difficult if you drink .It's known that drinking heavily can result in Foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) . Children with this syndrome have restricted growth,facial abnormalities and learning behaviour disorders . When a women drink while pregnant , the alcohol passes into the baby's bloodstream . The safest approach is to not drink at all.
You don't need to cut out caffeine completely , but don' t have more than 200 mg a day as high levels can result in baby having a low birth weight, which can increase the risk of health problems in later life ;Too much caffeine can also cause miscarriage ; There's caffeine in chocolate ,cola and "energy drinks" , as well as tea and coffee .
In general try to keep a well-balanced diet,which will supply all the energy and nutrients needed by you and your growing baby.
- Do eat plenty of fruits and vegetables (fresh,frozen,tinned ,dried or juice) five portion a day .
- Do eat plenty of foods from the starchy carbohydrate group,such as breads,cereals,rice,pasta,noodles,maize,millet,yams and potatoes.
- Do have milk and other dairy products(e.g yogurt,hard cheese) to ensure that you have a good intake of calcuim ;Use low-fat varities where you can.For example semi-skimmed milk ,low fat yogurt and reduced fat hard-cheese .
- Do get enough vitamin D. It keeps bones healthy and provides your baby with enough vit D for the first few months of life . Take a 10-micro-grams supplement of vit D every day.Your body makes vit D from exposure to sunlight, but the amount of time you need in the sun to make enough vitD varies from person to person . If you have dark skin you may be at particular risk of vitamin D deficiency .Talk to your midwife or GP if you're worried about this.
- Do get enough of iron because some women can develop low iron levels during pregnancy.Iron is found in meat,green leafy vegetables ,pulses,bread and fortified cereals .Your midwife can advise you whether you need to take iron supplement .
- Do eat protein foods , such as meat,fish,poultry,eggs,beans,soya,pulses and nuts .Have a good variety to ensure that you get enoug protein and important nutrients ,such as iron,zinc,magnesium and essential fatty acids.Fatty acids include omega 3 fats (found in flaxseed oil ,rapeseed oil and oily fish ,such as mackerel and sardines ).
- Do stay active and move around .
- Don't eat for two .You don't need extra calories until the final three months, when you need 200 extra calories a day -equivalent to two slices of toast with margarine or butter) .Be guided with your appetite .When you feel hungry between meals,choose a healthy snack such as fruit,yogurt or a bowl of cereal .
- Don't try to loose weight during pregnancy .This can affect your baby's weight,and may stop you from getting al the nutrients that you both need.Don't skip meals,even if you feel sick.Eating little and often can keep your energy level up and can help to fight off morning sickness.