Updated: Mar 2
Planning for a baby? Then yes your diet is really important to the health of your baby. In fact both mother and father’s diet and health play a pivotal role in terms of a healthy pregnancy and newborn. It really does take 2 to make a baby!
During pregnancy the basic principles of healthy eating remain the same – so get plenty of fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, lean protein and healthy fats in.
However, there are some nutrients in the pregnancy diet that are vitally important.
Folate and Folic Acid – prevent brain and spinal cord problems – neural tube defects. .
Folic acid has been shown to decrease the risk of premature birth and having a low birthweight baby.
The synthetic forms of folate is known as folic acid. Folic acid has been shown to decrease the risk of premature birth and having a low birthweight baby. Folate is a more bio-available form – this means it is more easily absorbed by the body as it is a natural form of the nutrient compared to Folic Acid the synthetic form.
It is recommended that women planning to conceive take a supplement with folinic acid or L-5MTHF – active forms of folate.
Good sources of folate include – spinach, beans, asparagus, oranges, peanuts.
How much you need – 400 micrograms (mcg) per day folate before conception and 1,000 micrograms (mcg) throughout pregnancy. This amount is very difficult to get through diet alone so a good pregnancy supplement is helpful in achieving the optimal levels of folate.
(Other vitamins/minerals that are especially important in pregnancy are – iodine, iron and Vitamin D.)
Fish Oils – brain tissue is made up of around 20% of essential fatty acids (EFAs) – these fatty acids play an important role in your baby’s development.
The best way to get these important nutrients is by taking a good quality fish oil supplement – checking that they are free of mercury and PCBs – both often seen in farmed oily fish and detrimental to a baby’s nervous system.
Live Bacteria – Probiotics
It’s also worth including a good quality probiotic when you’re pregnant – it will help you feel more comfortable in pregnancy – supporting your digestion.
Good levels of gut bacteria are also known to reduce the risk of gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia – as well as low birth weight and baby eczema.
Avoiding too much weight gain
Gaining weight is a normal and necessary part of pregnancy – but studies show that many pregnant women put on too much weight. Putting on lots of weight can lead to many complications, as well as an increased risk of obesity/diabetes for the baby.