The pregnant and breastfeeding woman’s body needs more of everything – calories, protein, calcium, iron, zinc, folic acid, B vitamins, and most other vitamins and minerals, as well as rest and activity.
· Eating a nutritious diet means acquiring all the vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids and phytonutrients that the body needs to function optimally and to protect health during pregnancy and lactation.
· Hydration: Water needs increase during pregnancy for carrying essential nutrients into the placenta. Also water is the main ingredient of a mother’s milk, as well as being crucial for all bodily processes. So remember to keep hydrated especially after activity and in between meals.
· Morning sickness: Eat crackers or cereal before getting out of bed. Eat small, frequent meals throughout the day and avoid fatty, fried and greasy foods.
Include a rainbow of vegetables and fruits
· If you add in good amounts of coloured vegetables and fruits, you will be getting a complete range of phytonutrients to keep you and your baby in good health. These will provide vitamins and minerals, as well as fibre, which will aid digestion and prevent constipation. Eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day – these can be fresh, frozen, dried or juiced. Always wash them carefully. Cook vegetables lightly in a little water, or eat them raw but well washed to get the benefit of the nutrients they contain. Green leafy vegetables are true nutrient-dense super foods, and highly alkalizing too.
Eat lean good quality proteins and good quality oils every day
· Eggs, poultry, fish, milk products, nuts and seeds, pulses, beans, tofu (organic where possible).
· Include starchy foods are an important source of vitamins and fibre, and are satisfying without containing too many calories. They include bread, potatoes, breakfast cereals, rice, pasta, noodles, maize, millet, oats, sweet potatoes, yams, and cornmeal. Eat wholemeal instead of processed (white) varieties when you can.
· Dairy products are one of the richest sources of calcium in your diet. Calcium is essential for the development of healthy bones and teeth of your baby; in lactation it is important for the formation of your own breast milk. All fruit and vegetables also contain Vitamin C as well as nuts, seeds and seafood. Some cereals and other foods and beverages are fortified with vitamin C. Fortified means a vitamin or mineral has been added to the food. Check the product labels to see how much vitamin C is in the product.
· Spending some time in outdoor activity as much as possible, sunlight exposure helps the body to produce vitamin D which is needed for calcium absorption and forming strong bones.
Avoid stimulants and harmful additives and pesticides
· Teas, coffees, fizzy drinks, alcohol, cakes, sweets, added salts, soft cheeses etc.
Exercise during pregnancy and lactation
· Many women feel the need to start an exercise program during pregnancy because of weight gain. If you did not exercise prior to pregnancy, consult with a fitness professional before you start a program.
· In the absence of any complications and if you exercised prior to pregnancy, go ahead and continue with your routine. Realize that as you progress through your pregnancy, changes will have to be made for the safety of the mother and baby.
· After the first trimester, avoid lying on your back. This can reduce the blood flow back to your heart.
· Lactation requires a lot of energy. Many people believe that exercising while breast feeding decreases milk production and changes the composition of milk. This is not true. Milk volume, milk composition and maternal health are not affected by exercise.
Julia Spurr P.D.N.N / MFNTP / GRCCT Reg No: 642909