Proteins for pregnant woman: Protein includes meat (except liver), fish, poultry, eggs, beans, pulses and nuts. These foods are all good sources of nutrients.
Eat moderate amounts each day. Choose lean meat, remove the skin from poultry and cook using only a little fat. Make sure eggs, poultry, burgers and sausages are cooked all the way through.
Check that there is no pink meat and that juices have no pink or red in them. Try to eat two portions of fish a week, one of which should be oily fish. There are some fish that you should avoid.
Dairy foods for pregnancy
Dairy foods like milk, cheese, yoghurt and fromage frais are important because they contain calcium and other nutrients that your baby needs. Eat two or three portions a day, using low-fat varieties whenever you can – for example, semi-skimmed or skimmed milk, low-fat yoghurt and half-fat hard cheese. However, there are some cheeses that you should avoid.
High fat and sugar foods during pregnancy
This food group includes all spreading fats, oils, salad dressings, cream, chocolate, crisps, biscuits, pastries, ice cream, cake, puddings and fizzy drinks. You should only eat a small amount of these foods. Sugar contains calories without providing any other nutrients that the body needs. Having sugary foods and drinks too often can cause tooth decay, especially if you have them between meals. If we eat more than we need, this can lead to weight gain. Eating more fatty foods is likely to make you put on weight. Having too much saturated fat can increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood, which increases the chance of developing heart disease. Try to cut down on food that is high in saturated fat and have foods rich in unsaturated fat instead.
Carbohydrates during pregnancy
Carbohydrates are satisfying without containing too many calories, and are an important source of vitamins and fiber. They include bread, potatoes, breakfast cereals, pasta, rice, oats, noodles, maize, millet, yams, cornmeal and sweet potatoes. These foods should be the main part of every meal. Eat wholegrain varieties when you can.
Pregnant weight gain
Most women gain between 10kg and 12.5kg (22–28lb) while pregnant. Weight gain varies a great deal and depends on your weight before pregnancy.
Much of the extra weight is due to the baby growing. Putting on too much weight can affect your health and increase your blood pressure. Equally, it is important that you do not diet, but eat healthily. Try and stay active by keeping up your normal daily activity or exercise. If you are concerned, talk to your midwife or GP. They may give you advice if you weigh more than 100kg (about 15½ stone) or less than 50kg (about 8 stone).
Preparing food during pregnancy
• Wash fruit, vegetables and salads to remove all traces of soil, which may contain toxoplasma. This can cause toxoplasmosis, which can harm your baby.
• Heat ready-meals until they are piping hot all the way through. This is especially important for meals containing poultry.
• Keep leftovers covered in the fridge and use within two days.
• Wash all surfaces and utensils, and your hands, after preparing raw meat. This will help to avoid infection with toxoplasma.