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Early pregnancy Nutrition

Updated: Nov 27, 2020



Folic Acid is really important for spinal cord development. You need to be taking a supplement of 400mcg until 12 weeks.

Food sources are: green leafy vegetables, pulses, and wholegrains.


Vit D supplement of 10 mcg is recommended throughout your pregnancy. Your body needs Vit D to effectively absorb calcium. Calcium is important for long term bone growth and health for both mother and baby.

Food source: dairy produce, green leafy veg, broccoli is high in calcium, oily fish is a great source of Vit D, wholegrains and sunshine. Eggs.


Iron: Red blood cells carry oxygen around the body for all your cells to function and develop. In the 2nd trimester of pregnancy your blood volume increases and your body is working harder with all the changes. Pulses, eggs, green veg, fortified foods, red meat are some foods rich in iron.


VIT C is needed for the body to absorb iron and synthesise collagen essential for connective tissue, bones, teeth and small blood vessels all of which your body is adjusting to changes with. So make sure you are getting plenty. Berries and cranberry juice are all high in Vit C as well as sweet potatoe, red and green peppers, kale, kiwis, broccoli. It is also really important for your immune system, which can be low in pregnancy.


Vit A is needed for the development of heart, lungs, kidneys, eyes and bones. Also baby’s and your nervous system and circulation and respiratory system. You need to avoid high doses though as high doses can cause harm. So stick to sources from fruit and veg (carrots), dairy and eggs, avoid meat sources such as liver.


Omega 3 fatty acids important for brain health and development. Skin health for mum too. You will find these in nuts and seeds, avocado, olive oil as well as fatty fish (see further notes on safe amounts of fish).

IN PRACTICE


Morning Sickness

The best way to cope with morning sickness is grazing. Eating little and often, avoid big meals.


You may be craving a lot of carbohydrates. Your body does need carbohydrates. Try stick to wholegrain as much as possible. Your body is burning a lot of energy with all the changes. You do not need extra calories till your 3rd trimester though.


Make sure you keep hydrated, sipping water little and often. Carry a bottle of water around with you. You could infuse grated ginger in your water.


Eat bland foods. Avoid strong flavours.


Ginger is great for morning sickness. You can grate it into cooking. Keep some ginger biscuits to hand. First thing in the morning have a mug of hot water with grated ginger in it. Ginger tea.


Peppermint can also help with morning sickness. Peppermint tea is soothing and good for your gut. You could invest in good quality peppermint oil (Dottera) to use on your pulse points.


I found pregnancy lollies/sucking sweets incredibly helpful. You can order them online.


If you find you are not keeping down much of food and fluids then sports drinks to sip are helpful in restoring your electrolyte balance, rehydrate you.

At the end of the day though EAT WHAT YOU CAN. Something is better than nothing. If you are struggling to keep down any food or fluids please see your GP or midwife!!!


I found it quite helpful having juicy fruit and veg chopped up to snack on often. Things like melon, grapes, cucumber and peppers. Little pots of berries and dried fruit such as dried apricots. I ate a lot of melon!!


Pregnancy can make you feel quite bloated and windy too. So balancing non bulky fibre to keep your bowels moving without getting windy. So wholegrains such as oats, granola, seeded bread, fruit and veg with skin on. Avoid high wheat content such as Weetabix and All Bran. (see my blog on constipation: https://www.pregnancyandbeyondcheshire.co.uk/post/constipation


Another helpful blog on top 10 super foods in pregnancy: https://www.pregnancyandbeyondcheshire.co.uk/post/top-10-healthy-fats

If you visit https://www.nhs.uk/start4life/pregnancy/ they have lots of great tips and up to date guidelines on the foods to avoid in pregnancy.

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