In everyday life it can be difficult for women to focus on a healthy diet and lifestyle and as evidence builds on the risk for babies of overweight mothers, a new simple guide sheds light on the right advice to follow.
The current reality in the UK is that nearly 50% of pregnant women attending their first maternity appointment are overweight. We also know that there is a lot of information accessible to women, but the advice is often unhelpful or conflicting.
The Infant & Toddler Forum have provided a practical, easy-to-follow guide on steps women can take to achieve optimum health for themselves and their baby during pregnancy and beyond. Try out the Ten Steps for a Healthy Pregnancy:
1) Take a daily supplement.
A daily vitamin D supplement throughout pregnancy. Some women will be prescribed 5mg folic acid per day up until at least the 12th week of pregnancy.
2) Keep physically active.
Keep active throughout your pregnancy aiming for at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity on five or more days per week.
3) A healthy weight gain.
A healthy weight gain during pregnancy depends on your pre-pregnancy weight and height. Expect to gain only 0.5-2kg in the first trimester and the rest over the second and third trimesters.
4) Choose nutritious foods.
Nutritious foods, not extra foods are key. Extra energy (e.g. half a sandwich each day) is only needed during the last trimester.
5) Balance your diet.
Base each meal on wholegrain starchy foods such as bread, rice, potatoes, pasta or breakfast cereals and include:
- three servings of milk, hard cheese or yogurt each day for calcium and iodine
- at least one vegetable and one fruit in both main meals and include with breakfast
- meat, fish, eggs, nuts or pulses at 2-3 meals each day for iron
6) Eat fish twice a week.
Eating fish with one or two servings. Oily fish is great for omega 3 fats – if you don’t eat fish take a daily supplement but avoid fish liver oil supplements.
7) Choose nutritious snacks.
Such as fruit, nuts, yogurt, a sandwich or toast rather than food or drink high in sugar or fat.
8) Drink lots of water.
Have about 6-8 drinks (1½ - 2 litres) per day for good hydration (and limit caffeine).
9) Food Safety.
Thoroughly cook meat, fish and eggs; wash all soil from vegetables & fruit and avoid vitamin A supplements, liver, liver pate, unpasteurised dairy products, soft and blue cheeses, swordfish, marlin and shark; limit tinned tuna to 4 small servings per week.
10) Seek support.
Seek support to stop smoking or misusing drugs or medication and avoid alcohol.
Article supplied by the Infant & Toddler Forum, ran by leading experts from paediatrics, neonatology, health visiting, dietetics, child psychology, midwifery and obstetrics, who specialise in early years nutrition and development.