Ideally, we want our children to be in the best health that they can possibly be in, therefore, it makes sense to give them the best start in life that is possible - and what better way than by eating an excellent and well balanced diet! At the same time, you want to be in the best possible health you can be in for your pregnancy. Eating well can help you avoid complications such as anaemia and pre eclampsia and also help your comfort during pregnancy, such as avoiding fatigue, morning sickness, constipation, leg cramps, to name but a few. You can also avoid delivering your baby too early - specifically a deficiency in zinc has been linked to an increased risk of premature labour. Another great benefit of a well nourished body is that it will recover post delivery much more quickly and easily and weight that has been gained on a good diet will be shed faster.
Focusing on eating a well balanced diet complete with complex carbohydrates, proteins, essential fats, vitamins and minerals is the best thing you can do for your unborn child.
Carbs such as wholegrains and a wide variety of fruit and vegetables are the best kind to eat as they have a low glycaemic index and are slower to digest than refined carbohydrates and saturated fats such as processed (junk) foods. You will have more energy for longer and your baby will be receiving the most nutritional carbs you can give him. Eating these kinds of slow burning carbohydrates will also assist with nausea as your blood sugar will be more balanced.
Proteins such as fish, lean meat, eggs, low fat dairy, nuts and legumes will assist with your baby's cell development and will also help to keep you fuller for longer, as well as providing a wide variety of vitamins and minerals for both yourself and your baby.
Essential fats are just that. They are fats that your body and your baby need. These come in the form of oily fish, nuts and seeds, cold pressed oils, and fruits like avocados. Your body will use these fats well - they are not fats to avoid or to be afraid of. It's the saturated fats in processed food and fried food that we have to be careful of and those are the ones that push up the blood pressure and cholesterol if we consume too much of them. These foods along with refined carbohydrates like sweets and white bread are the ones that can cause us to really stack on the weight when we are pregnant, so leave these for treats once a week only!
Aim to make your plate as colourful as possible when eating a meal. This ensures that you both will be receiving adequate vitamins and minerals in your diet. Dark greens, bright yellow and orange, red and purple coloured foods are all very high in essential key vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. These are a must daily!
With everything that is about to go in your mouth, ask yourself, "Is this what my baby really needs?" if it is a yes and it will do you both good, then eat it! If deep down you know it is a no, then put it down and don't look at it again. Your baby's needs are your priority and if you take care of yourself you will not regret the rewards to come!