How can you ensure the best nutrition for your growing baby? It often feels like a bit of a minefield trying to navigate all the information. However, it is worth getting it right as there is more and more research showing that the mother’s health and in particular nutrition, can have profound and long-lasting effects on the developing fetus, child and even into adulthood. The World Health Organisation has even coined a phrase to address the time in the womb and first two years: “the first 1000 days” of which the first 365 are while the baby is developing in the mother’s uterus.
A Balanced Diet
A balanced diet which contains protein, carbohydrates and fats is important and although that sounds obvious, many women will be on newer types of diets where one food group is restricted or not consumed at all. Time to stop the fad diet when you are pregnant! Overall it is recommended women eat:
- 6 serves Vegetables and Fruit a day
- 6 serves Breads and Cereals a day
- 3 serves Dairy a day
- 2 serves lean meat a day
A serving is an amount that can fit in the palm of your hand. Pregnant women are more likely to get constipated and can develop diabetes during pregnancy. Both of these conditions can be reduced with a high fibre diet. It's recommended that women swap out items like white bread for wholemeal bread and eat plenty of vegetables with skins on if scrubbed.
It is also recommended that no alcohol is consumed during pregnancy. Fetal alcohol syndrome is a condition affecting the fetus and can result in stunting of growth and even developmental delay. It is very hard to predict how much alcohol will result in damage and will vary from woman to woman and fetus to fetus. Therefore the safest approach is no alcohol.