Nutrition during pregnancy

Good nutrition is important throughout all stages of life and especially during pregnancy. To help give your baby the best start in life, please use this nutrition during pregnancy guide.

What you eat now will influence the health, growth and development of your new baby. A healthy diet is one way of ensuring that your baby has the best start in life. Eating for your baby and you doesn’t mean eating twice as much as usual. It means eating a little more and most importantly choosing foods packed with nutrition.

Key nutrients during pregnancy

To be sure of good nutrition while your baby is developing you need to eat foods rich in the key nutrients of pregnancy.

Protein

Protein is needed for growth of the baby. Foods high in protein are meats, fish, chicken, eggs, legumes and nuts.

Folic Acid

To decrease the risk of neural tube defects in the baby, pregnant women should take folate supplements. For one month before and three months after conception you need a supplement to provide 0.5mg of folate each day. Best sources of folic acid are yellow and green leafy vegetables including spinach, breakfast cereals with added folate, breads, fruit and legumes.

Iron

Iron is of key importance during pregnancy. You need more iron for blood production to carry oxygen and nutrients to your baby. Your baby also draws on your reserves, storing enough iron to last the first four to six months of life. Best foods are red meats, chicken, seafood, and to a lesser extent legumes, wholemeal bread and iron fortified breakfast cereals.

Calcium

Calcium helps build strong bones and teeth. Milk and milk products are the foods to choose as well as tinned fish with bones such as salmon.

Vitamins and Minerals

Most vitamin and mineral needs are elevated during pregnancy. There is an increased requirement for Vitamin C, B12, B group vitamins, magnesium and zinc. Be sure to include a wide variety of nutritious foods from each of the food groups to ensure adequate amounts of these nutrients.

Food group requirements during pregnancy

Food Group

Requirement (Serves / day)

Serving Size

Cereals

4-6

2 slices of bread,

1 medium bread roll,

1 cup cooked pasta, rice,

1 cup breakfast cereal

Vegetables, legumes

5-6

1 cup salad vegetables,

½ cup dark leafy vegetables

1/3 cup cooked lentils, chickpeas or canned beans

1 medium potato

Fruit

4

1 piece medium sized fruit,

2 small pieces of fruit,

1 cup fruit pieces

Milk, yoghurt, cheese

2

250ml milk,

40g cheese,

200g yoghurt

Lean meat, fish, poultry, nuts and legumes

65 -100g cooked meat / chicken,

80 - 120g fish fillet,

2 eggs, 1/3 cup nuts