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Nine Months : Diet in Pregnancy FAQs

What should I be eating?

You do not need a special diet just because you are pregnant but you should eat healthily as your body has to work especially hard during pregnancy. It is now known that what you eat can have a far-reaching effect on your baby's health. You should therefore make sure that you have a well-balanced, varied diet and that you eat regularly and often. In the last three months of your pregnancy, aim to increase your daily calorie intake by about 200 calories - the equivalent of a banana and a glass of milk.

Which foods are best?

It is a good idea to be realistic in your dietary aims and eat what you actually enjoy, because it is likely that if you restrict yourself to an artificial (and possibly unappealing) diet, you will be more tempted to go on an eating binge and put on unwanted pounds. Just make sure that you are getting the basic nutrients in your core diet.

What foods should I cut out?

Try to cut out very fatty foods such as the fat and crackling on pork, fried bacon, and cream sauces. These are likely to make you feel nauseous in the first three months as well as contribute to weight gain. Look out for the fat in convenience foods like biscuits, pastries and cakes. Avoid certain foods that carry the risk of infection and damage to your baby. Look at the guidelines for healthy eating for more information

Should I drink more fluids?

As your blood volume increases, you need to increase your fluid intake. Drink water rather than high-calorie fizzy drinks, which are full of sugar and can make nausea and heartburn worse. Even if you have fluid retention, do not cut your fluid intake; try to drink up to six glasses of water each day. Drinking fluid can also prevent constipation, a common problem in pregnancy.

Are snacks and junk food bad in pregnancy?

Snacking in itself is not a bad thing but if you can, you should try to snack on healthy foods. Fresh fruit, nuts, raisins, and raw vegetables are all much better for you than junk foods like crisps, chocolate, chips, and doughnuts; these are high in calories, fats and sugars, and salt, and although they may produce a fast energy high, they do not contain many nutrients that will help your baby to grow and develop. They may also contain artificial colouring and additives. Of course, the occasional snack now and then will not do you any harm, but snacks should'nt play a large part in your diet.

Can I still eat fast foods and go out to restaurants?

Although not as bad for you as junk foods, fast foods can still be high in fat and carbohydrates and, if they are kept heated for long periods of time, many of the vitamins and minerals in the food are destroyed. However, restaurant meals such as freshly made pizza can be nutritious for you, as long as you make sure that you maintain your basic core diet.

How much weight should I gain?

Your weight is not important during pregnancy unless you are very underweight or seriously overweight. What is more important is the growth-rate of the baby; this does not depend on your weight or how much you eat but rather on the efficiency of the placenta and the quality of the food, which supplies the appropriate nutrients. However, you will feel happier if you gain the weight steadily and don't put on large amounts. Click here for more information on recommended weight gain figures in pregnancy

Is it a good idea to try to slim while pregnant?

No, it is not a good idea at all, because this is a time when you should be eating a balanced and nutritious diet so that your baby can get all the nutrients he or she needs for healthy development. You will also need plenty of energy to cope with the extra physical demands of pregnancy and labour. Even though you might not want to put on any weight, you will and you should if your pregnancy is going well, and this is quite natural and essential.If you were seriously over-weight before you became pregnant, you may need to watch your diet. Your doctor or midwife will give you more information on this.

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