Nutrition during Pregnancy

Pregnancy puts additional stresses on your body so it is a time during which you need to ensure optimum nutrition both for the health of your baby and your own health.

Nutritional requirements increase during pregnancy. For example, additional protein is required for the growth of the baby, omega-3 and omega-6 fats are also essential for the baby's development, particularly for the nervous system and brain, keeping your blood sugar levels balanced is important to reduce the  chances of gestational diabetes. Calcium intake is especially important during pregnancy and often needs to supplemented to ensure sufficient intake at this time

Many typical pregnancy ailments can be helped though the use of nutritional therapy. For example, stretch marks and post-natal depression may be a sign of an underlying zinc deficiency. Constipation and piles during pregnancy may be a sign that your fibre intake is inadequate. Vitamin E applied topically can also help reduce the chances of stretch marks and help to reduce caesarean scars.

Foods to avoid

Whilst pregnant it is recommended that you avoid certain foods, some of which include:

- pate and soft or blue cheeses, soft-whip icecreams and unpasteurised milk
- raw and runny eggs and raw poultry including food made with raw eggs.
- uncooked shellfish and sushi
- limit oily fish to two portions per week, one portion of tuna per week and avoid shark, marlin and swordfish
- peanuts

Caffeine and alcohol both cross the placenta and affect the baby in the same way as the mother. Both are also linked to a higher risk of miscarriage and it is recommended that they are avoided completely during pregnancy.

Also beware the use of antacids during pregnancy. These contain very high levels of aluminium and there is a concern over a possible link to eczema in babies.

Ensure all fruit and vegetables are washed  before eating and cook meat thoroughly.

Preparation for labour

It is essential to ensure that the cupboards/hospital bag is well-stocked prior to labour to ensure you have the right kinds of foods on hand to keep your energy levels up during what can sometimes be a very long period of time. Supplements such as evening primrose oil may help to prepare your body for the birth and raspberry leaf tea is also recommended duirng the last few weeks to hlep tone your uterus - drink 2-3 cups per day.

Diluted fruit juice together with wholegrain snacks, fruit and vegetables are all good energy sources.

Eczema or asthma in the family?

If yes, then you may wish to consider supplementing probiotics as studies have shown that this may reduce the likelihood of allergies developing in your baby. Speak to your nutritional therapist about the best type of probiotic for you together with a precautionary weaning program and allergy testing for the mother-to-be.