Natasha Dunn

Natasha Dunn

Senior embryologist at Primary IVF, Yoga teacher, Nutritionist
Natasha Dunn

Before you become pregnant, and during your pregnancy, the health of your unborn child is essential for their future. Pregnancy nutrition is absolutely critical – not only to keep mum well but to protect the health of her baby. A nutrient dense diet during pregnancy allows your baby to develop and grow, and nourishes your body during this special time. There is no specific diet for pregnancy, but having a healthy diet of fresh foods is essential to ensure you are getting the correct nutrients for both mum and bub.

What Foods can I eat and not during Pregnancy?

Many people will have an opinion on what you should eat. If you are confused or a little unsure what you can and cant eat refer to the pregnancy guide on the website.

This brochure is from a government website that’s kept up to date with relevant scientific research and supporting evidence for healthy eating. The website is used for health professionals, policy makers, educators, food manufactures, and researchers.

There are helpful hints and guidelines for you such as:

  • Choose foods from the five food groups, such as vegetables, legumes and beans, fruits, grains, lean meats, tofu, eggs, nuts and seeds, dairy or alternatives
  • Weight gain is normal during pregnancy, but make sure not to over gain by selecting healthy choices and avoiding cakes, sugary foods and drinks.
  • Choose foods high in iron such as shellfish, spinach, legumes, red met, pumpkin seeds and quinoa.
  • Increase your grains for folic acid
  • Eating foods high in calcium is important such as hard cheeses, and milk or alternatives such as figs, almonds, kale, broccoli and chia seeds
  • Drinking plenty of water to help with constipation
  • Eat small regular healthy meals, there’s no need to “eat for two”.
  • Your bodies energy needs in the first trimester is the same as a non-pregnant woman.   You only need to increase your calories by 340 in your second trimester and 450 by your final trimester

Which Meats are safe for my Baby and I?

As per the Australian dietary guidelines it is recommended if you are pregnant you should follow these guidelines when making meal decisions:

  • Fish that may contain traces of mercury such as shark, marlin and swordfish to consume only one serving (100g) per fortnight and no other fish that week
  • Other fish such as deep-sea perch and catfish consume only one serving (100g) per week and no other fish that week
  • Red meat to be completely cooked through
  • Avoid raw meats and cured meats, this includes sushi

What Foods should I Avoid in Pregnancy?

  • Alcohol
  • Raw eggs
  • Soft cheeses
  • Bean sprouts
  • Paté
  • Pre-made salads
  • Sandwich meats such as turkey, chicken, roast beef, prosciutto, ham and bolonga
  • Blue cheeses

How can your Diet influence your Baby even before Conception?

Research has discovered that the diet of both parents has an epigenetic effect on their offspring. Epigenetics is the change in an organism such as eggs or sperm caused by modification of gene expression, it is not a change in the genetic code.

  • A study by Drake et al, 2012 found a change of DNA in sperm cells and egg cells (epigenetic change) due to poor nutrition from the mother /father.
  • In affect their babies developed genes associated with diseases such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, neurological behavioural disorders, and type II diabetes.
  • Drake et al, 2012 also found the genes affected by poor nutrition are key target genes responsible for early life developments of your baby

Looking at these facts we can say we are what we eat, and to some extent so are our future offspring. These effects can be helped with a healthy diet and any exercise that works for you, and the maintenance of healthy weight and blood pressure well before conception.

If you feel you are unsure on what to eat and where to find materials to help aid your decision, or just need nutritional support please make an appointment with one of our nutritionists today. We can guide you through a program and educate you for your pregnancy currently or to come.

References

Drake, A, J., McPherson, R, C., Godfrey, K, M., Coopert, C., Lillycrop, K, A., Hanson, M, A., Meehan, R, R., Seckl, J, R., and Reynolds, R, M. (2012). An unbalanced maternal diet in pregnancy associated with offspring epigenetic changes in genes controlling glucocorticoid action and foetal growth ‘Clinical Endocrinology’ 77, 808-815.

Eat for health: Healthy eating during your pregnancy 2018, sited 11/09/2018.

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