Eating for Two

Does it mean eating double? And while you know what you like, what does your little one need? And what should you avoid?

If you are feeling well, just being sensible about what you eat is a great start. A well balanced diet from our 5 food groups is a general rule. So think breads and cereals, fruit and vegetables, milk and dairy, meat, fish, fats and oils. If you’re feeling sick, you’re restricted by what you can stomach, so there’s special tips for you later. But the following will help you too.

New South Wales Food Standards recommends similar foods to an everyday healthy diet. But you could also benefit from some added nutrients such as Iron, Iodine and Folic Acid. Your baby will draw these from your stores to grow and develop so it’s important you have enough for the both of you. Depending on your individual need, pregnancy approved supplements can be very useful. Speak with Dr van der Griend as he may recommend you take a multivitamin or extra iron. But for everyone, getting these added vitamins and minerals thru your diet will be very beneficial for both you and your baby.

Iron

Your baby draws iron from Mum that will last them for up to 5-6 months post delivery. The iron helps make red blood cells that carry oxygen around your babies body. Put simply, an increase is important to make sure your baby gets the right amount of o2. Vitamin C helps with the absorption of Iron, therefore eating good quantities of fruit and veggies will be beneficial for your iron stores.

Foods to eat: poultry, eggs, cereals and beef. Some recipes to think about would be Roasted Chicken With Garlic, Lemon and Rosemary, Sheppard’s Pie with Cauliflower Mash, Steamed Fish with Snow Peas, Minted Fennel and Onion Salad, a Lamb Burger with Rosemary, or Caramelised Onion and Rosemary Frittata.

Folate

This is a Vitamin B which can assist in ensuring tissue develops and connects in all areas of the body. It is important particularly in the early stages of pregnancy to help prevent birth abnormalities such Spina Bifida.

Foods to eat: Dark green leafy veggies, nuts, and breakfast cereals. For the carbohydrate lovers; tuck into bread, because most breads and cereals now have added folic acid. Think about dunking your bread into a delicious Chickpea and Pumpkin Soup or Spinach and Leek Soup.

Calcium

We all know Calcium is good for strength. When you’re pregnant it’s needed to help your baby grow strong bones and teeth. It’s especially important in the third trimester when this development is happening. If Mum does not have enough calcium then the baby can draw the mother stores which may increase her risk of Osteoporosis.

Foods to eat: Dairy and soy foods. So think about a Banana and Yogurt Smoothie or Cheddar Cheese and Baked Bean Toasties.

Iodine

This vitamin helps with normal brain and hormone development in your baby. Mild to moderate deficiency in pregnancy may affect his/her learning and hearing.

Foods to eat: Seafood, eggs and dairy. Some ideas to consider are Cooked Tuna and Vegetable Rice Paper Rolls or Fish Pie with a Cheesy Sauce.

The great thing is, you do need to consume a few extra calories for your baby.  So pregnancy is not the time to be concerned with weight loss. But this doesn’t mean eating double.  Over eating can sometimes be a contributing factor in conditions like Gestational Diabetes.  This can lead to bigger babies and hypertension which is an increase in your Blood Pressure. The general guide is to consume an extra 300 calories a day. That is 2500-2700 kilojoules per day.

But here’s the unfair bit, there are some foods which should be avoided completely during pregnancy. Mainly because of the risk of Listeria.  This is a bacteria found in some foods which can cause a rare but dangerous infection called Listeriosis. We are more at risk of developing Listereria during pregnancy because hormone levels lower our immune system therefore it is harder to fight off infections. The good news is, cooking our food thoroughly will kill this bacteria, so well cooked and thoroughly re-heated foods are generally safe.

Foods to avoid: Soft white cheeses like Brie, Ricotta and Feta are out. Even your Goats Cheese Tarts are better avoided until after you give birth. The NSW Food Authority states the following are also off limits: Unpasteurised milk, pre-prepared pâté, soft serve ice cream and soft serve yoghurt, cold meat and chicken used in takeaway sandwiches, processed meats like devon and ham, cold, smoked and raw seafood like oysters, pre-prepared or stored salads like coleslaw and foods close to or past the use-by date.

Foods to enjoy: Freshly cooked foods, eaten within 12 hours of preparation, fresh pasteurised milk and milk products, UHT milk, yoghurt and hard cheeses, fresh washed vegetables and fruit and canned foods.

Alcohol

Being pregnant can take it out of you.  You’re often tired at the end of day. If you are well, you may feel like a glass of wine or two. Particularly as you may feel once the baby comes your social life will be more restricted. Australian Government Health recommends the safest option for pregnant or breastfeeding Mums is to avoid alcohol. We know that drinking alcohol passes to the baby through the placenta and may cause developmental risks. If going out, consider ordering a fruity mocktail or a lemon, lime and bitters.  It’s a small consolation, but tasty nonetheless.

Caffeine

During pregnancy, caffeine has not been shown to cause birth defects.  However, in large doses it may increase the risk of miscarriage or having a baby with low birth weight. The daily consumption of caffeine is 200 mg a day.  That is 2 cups of instant coffee or tea or 1 filtered coffee or an espresso per day.

If you’re feeling nauseous, then it’s about finding anything that doesn’t make you feel worse.  We know that eating regularly actually helps with All Day Sickness (whoever decided to call it Morning Sickness has never had it!)  Obviously the above all relates to you, but some foods that can specifically help are: starchy foods which don’t smell, like bread, potatoes, nuts and muesli bars.  Try having dry crackers before you get out of bed and avoid fluids with meals. Eat regularly, some women find eating something small every hour or so helps.  Avoid fatty foods and stick with plain bland foods as often as you can.

After the baby comes, you could benefit from particular foods too.  Not only for breastfeeding, but for energy.  Stock the pantry, fridge and freezer with foods like fruit and veggies, quiches, spaghetti bolognaise and chicken meat balls.  If anyone asks what they can do for you when the baby comes suggest cooking you a healthy meal.  They’ll be in your good books forever!

If you have further questions or feedback please don’t hesitate to send your enquiry through Dr van der Griend’s website.  There will also be a talk from a Nutritionist in Dr van der Griend’s room. Let us know if this is something that may interest you. Date to be advised

You can also check out:

Food Standards Australia and NZ http://www.foodstandards.gov.au

NSW Food Authority http://www.foodauthority.nsw.gov.au

Good Nutrition in Pregnancy ACT http://www.health.act.gov.au

Australian Government NHMRC http://www.nhmrc.gov.au

Thanks for reading and happy eating!