Nutrition & pregnancy
Nutrition throughout pregnancy
Pregnancy is an exciting and exhilarating time for any parent-to-be. You discover a baby is on the way and then, before you know it, nine months have passed and you're the proud parents of a newborn boy or girl. in those nine months there's plenty a mum-to-be can do to ensure she gives her baby the best possible start in life.
The most important thing you can do to help your baby's development is to take care of yourself because, by doing so, you are also taking care of your baby. And one of the best ways you can do this is to ensure that you have a healthy, balanced diet.
Old wives' tale!
As your body changes to accommodate a developing baby, nutrition becomes very important. Your diet needs to provide enough energy and nutrition for both of you - something that can sometimes be difficult to achieve by your diet alone as a busy modern life often leaves little time to prepare healthy meals. In order to help make sure you get all the nutrients you need, you might therefore want to consider taking extra vitamins or minerals to supplement your diet. The Department of Health acknowledges that there are two specific nutrients that are needed at higher levels during pregnancy than the average balanced diet can achieve and they advise supplementation of additional folic acid and vitamin D in pregnancy.
(first trimester - 0 to 12 weeks)
your baby: By the eighth week your baby has already begun to develop a heart and brain as well as bumps where arms and legs will grow. In the latter half of this trimester, your baby's face is forming and its hands and feet are beginning to grow although there is still a lot of growing to do.
you: At this early stage your body is going through momentous changes and this can affect your health. Some women get feelings of nausea and some may experience vomiting. If the sickness is so severe that you are unable to keep down fluids you should speak to your GP or midwife as you may be at risk of dehydration.
You should speak to your GP or midwife as you may be at risk of dehydration.
what you can do: If you do suffer from nausea or sickness, eating small and frequent meals may help. Some women find that strong smells, certain foods (e.g. fatty or spicy meals) and changing position quickly trigger their sickness. Drinking plenty of fluids and eating food containing ginger (e.g. ginger biscuits) may also help. For more information and guidance please see NHS.
It's important to take folic acid supplements for the first 12 weeks of your pregnancy.
Folic acid is essential for the development of your baby's brain and spinal cord. The Department of Health recommends that women take 400mcg of folic acid for 12 weeks prior to conception and for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
Sanatogen® mum to be is a supplement specifically formulated for pregnant women. it contains the recommended amount of folic acid (along with other essential nutrients) making it a useful way of ensuring you take the right amount.
(second trimester - 13 to 24 weeks)
your baby: At about 14 weeks, you will be able to hear your baby's heartbeat by using an ultrasound detector. Once you reach 17 weeks, your baby will be growing quickly and you may feel it move.
you: From the third to sixth month of pregnancy you may feel tired and listless and people may even comment that you look pale.
what you can do: This is nothing to worry about. Blood circulation increases during pregnancy as your body supports the development of a growing baby and you may need more of specific nutrients, like iron, to help produce more blood supply. If you do feel run down, try to boost your intake of iron by eating more lean red meat or green leafy vegetables, lentils, beans and dried fruits.
(third trimester - 25 to 36 weeks)
your baby: Now that you are nearing the end of your pregnancy, your baby will be moving vigorously. By 32 weeks, it will be lying downwards ready for birth. By 33 weeks your baby's brain is fully developed and its bones are starting to harden.
you: As your pregnancy progresses the womb grows and presses against the stomach, which can lead to digestive discomfort. See NHS for further guidance.
Try to make sure you are including Omega -3 fatty acids in your diet. Cold water fish (e.g. mackerel, herring, sardines, salmon) are a good source of omega-3, but if you prefer, supplements containing omega-3 are also available for you to take, such as Sanatogen® mum to be + Omega-3.