Wondering what makes a healthy, balanced pregnancy diet? It's vital that new mothers-to-be get the right balance of vitamins and minerals to ensure you're giving your little one the best possible start in life.
A solid, rounded pregnancy diet also helps to ensure that the mothers also get the nutrients they need to remain strong and healthy right up to delivery.
But following a healthy pregnancy diet isn't as straightforward as you'd think. There are particular supplements you need to take and specific foods you need to avoid all together. Educating yourself about the best possible pregnancy diet is a must, even before you get the happy news.
The obvious part of a good pregnancy diet is that you focus on getting your daily requirements of all of the different food groups, with an emphasis on fresh, unprocessed produce. Because weight gain is a concern during all three trimesters, it's a good idea to limit sugar and fat. You'll want to get plenty of dairy in order to ensure that you're getting adequate calcium.
Less obvious is that it's important for women who are hoping to conceive to begin to take folic acid supplements immediately upon going off contraception, and continue taking supplements right up until the 12th week.
Folic acid prevents conditions such as Spina Bifida, and should be taken in 400mcg tablets. You can also get folic acid from green leafy vegetables, breakfast cereals and brown rice. You'll also want to be sure you're getting enough iron. Good sources of iron are red meat, green vegetables, breakfast cereals and pulses. Though liver is a rich source of iron, liver is a food you shouldn't eat while expecting - this includes pate. Other vitamins to stock up on are vitamin C and D. Vitamin A should be avoided at all costs as it can harm the baby.
In general, foods to avoid include soft, mouldy cheeses, pate, undercooked meat or eggs, liver products, vitamin A, fish such as shark or marlin, and raw shellfish. Alcohol should be eliminated, and caffeine limited. If you're unsure about any item, be sure to consult your doctor.