So you’re now eating for two. What does this mean - more food or less? Should you give in to those cravings and say no to smoked salmon? Our team looks at the best nutrition for you and your baby and we debunk a few of the myths surrounding what you can and can’t eat while you’re pregnant.
Before we dive right into food. Right now, just the smell of someone’s perfume in the office might leave you recoiling in disgust and you might be getting to know the pattern of the lino on your toilet floor much better these days. Morning sickness - or if you are unlucky - all day sickness strikes many of us. Food schmood - all you can probably think about right now is when this horrible feeling will pass. Here’s some of our suggestions on what might help alleviate the nausea.
Tips: Eat plain food like rice crackers or toast before you get out of bed. Don’t leave it too long between snacking. Try ginger and peppermint teas - always a go-to for combating nausea. Sleep as much as you feel your body needs. Try and avoid strong cooking smells. See your GP if you are really suffering from the effects of morning sickness.
Nutrients versus calories
Nutritional advice doesn’t really change all that much when you’re pregnant according to Annaliese Jones, a nutrition, naturopathy & herbal medicine specialist. We don’t need more calories, what we need is more nutrients.
And aside from that, our own unique dietary requirements might stem from problems we’re having while pregnant. More fibrous food if we’re suffering from constipation or iron-containing foods if you’re experiencing anemia.
However, what all pregnant women should consider is consuming more healthy fats according to Annaliese. That’s because they help to absorb much needed vitamins and push them through to the vital places they’re needed in the body. So these healthy fats include things like; avocado coconut oil, eggs, nuts and seeds or full-fat dairy products. Even high quality dark chocolate is okay. Drizzle olive oil over salads or splash it liberally into stir-fries and, while you’re at it, enjoy those slices of cheese, or a good portion of oily fish.
Tip: Consider eating more healthy fats while you’re pregnant and foods that are nutrient rich.
Foods to avoid
There are foods to avoid while you are pregnant and definitely safer choices to make. Avoid dodgy days-old chicken sandwiches from the deli section or sushi that looks like it might have seen better days. But there are reasons why you need to avoid some food groups altogether because they are considered high risk with a chance of listeria or food contamination. They include foods like uncooked meats, raw fish and soft cheeses. While you can eat some of these in small amounts, it’s best to talk to your medical professional about what’s best for you. Annaliese believes pregnancy is the best time to start focusing on healthy fresh foods. If you can put this all into practice and never waiver then tell us how. We all slip up from time to time but make it the exception not the rule.
Tip: Avoid hummus, soft cheeses, raw fish and uncooked meats as a general rule while pregnant. Be vigilant with hand washing before preparing a meal and wash all fruit and vegetables.
It can happen - you crave something you’ve never eaten before or even liked for that matter. Doughnuts or lemon rinds - weird and wacky foods that we crave during pregnancy then immediately turn away from the moment the baby arrives.
Why? These cravings are thought to be tied up with pregnancy hormones racing through your body - not a nutrient deficiency as some old wive’s tales go. These hormones change the way that foods smell and taste to us while pregnant. So do we go with it? Sure, why not says Annaliese - unless you are packing away cookies and ice cream by the tub on a daily basis. “Try to avoid overdoing the sweet cravings, as this can lead to issues with blood sugar. Salty, sodium cravings can be an issue for mamas with higher than healthy blood pressure,” she says.
Tip: It’s okay to give in to those pregnancy cravings just don’t overdo it on the sugary foods and be careful with salty or sodium packed foods that you crave if you’ve got high blood sugar.