When you discover you are pregnant for the first time – your whole world shifts. Up to this point decisions you made with regards to your eating only had a direct effect on your body. Suddenly what you eat affects your unborn baby in more ways than we even realized.
A good balanced nutritious diet will have all the necessary nutrients to allow for optimal growth of your little one! Keep it simple but healthy. You need to eat foods from all the food groups. Avoid fad dieting while pregnant as you will miss out on some essential nutrients.
You need a range of fresh fruit and vegetables as this gives you the vitamins and minerals you and your baby need. Lutein is an anti oxidant found in green leafy vegetables and is very good for your babies immune system and brain development. Carotene is found in orange veggies and is very healthy for your babies eye and skin health. A healthy skin may be protective for your baby against allergies later on in life. Aim to eat at least five servings a day.
Protein foods like meats, eggs, milk, nuts etc are very important for muscle development and for keeping your placenta well nourished with a healthy blood flow. Some pre term deliveries may result from a placenta that has ‘dried’ up too soon. So aim to eat at least 4 portions (palm size) daily.
If you are struggling with nausea in these early days then it may be helpful to get a good supplement that you can take to ensure you meet you protein needs. Starch foods like rice, pasta, wholegrain breads and cereals are very important for energy for you and your baby and also for fibre. Like fruit the fibre in these whole grain products ensure that you stay regular when drunken with adequate water. Have 3 -4 servings of healthy low GI starch daily and at least 1.5L water through out the day.
Fats like avocado, linseeds, flaxseeds, olives etc are important to provide the essential fatty acids necessary for you the mom to retain brain cells and for your little one to create new healthy brain cells. Aim to have 4 fat servings per day (1 tsp/serving or ¼ avocado).
A lot of ongoing research is looking at the moms diet and including high risk allergen foods and initially the thinking was that we should avoid allergens during pregnancy however this has not shown to be beneficial and may even be more harmful. The recommendations now are to include all allergen foods as long as you are not allergic to one of them. So avoid all foods except those you are allergic to.
Some very interesting and current research is going on at the moment around fussy eating and when foods were introduced to babies and its affect on fussy eating behaviour. We know that babies swallow amniotic fluid and we know that babies can taste tastes in the amniotic fluid. So there is some research looking at the variety of vegetables eaten by a mom and then acceptance of theses vegetables later.
So in summary if you want your little one to eat his veggies it may all start in the womb!!!!