This one’s for the mummas to be. You have heard the expression “eating for two” when it comes to eating during pregnancy and whilst this isn’t necessarily true, you do need to eat twice as good.1
Eating a variety of foods from each of the key food groups is generally enough to meet both mother and bubba happy. However, special attention should be given to folic acid, iron, zinc, iodine and vitamin C.2
Extra folic acid (also known as folate) is vital for the development and growth of new cells. Insufficient folic acid at the time of conception and the first trimester can increase the risk of neural tube defects.2
Sources of folate include legumes, nuts, yeast extracts (like Vegemite), fruits, vegetables, and fortified bread.2
During pregnancy, the maternal blood volume increases to support the baby’s circulatory system. Iron is a significant player for this stage of development and if not absorbed adequately, there is more of a risk of a preterm or low birth weight baby.2
It’s also extremely helpful to pair Vitamin C-rich foods to help with the absorption of iron.3 For example, enjoy some lovely broccoli and brussel sprouts (vitamin C) with your chicken (iron)!
Zinc is needed to maintain the health of cells.2 Taking iron supplements may interfere with the absorption of zinc so continue consuming iron-rich foods to ensure you’re getting an adequate amount.4 Good sources include fish, seafood and legumes.
Iodine is needed for normal mental development for the baby.2 Good sources of iodine include iodised salt, fish and seafood.
Vitamin C is important for normal gum, tooth, bone, and body tissue formation for babies and supports the immune system in adults.2 Sources include oranges, strawberries, and a variety of veggies like red capsicum and broccoli
There is a lot of pressure that comes with not only with motherhood, but during pregnancy as well. Whilst it is important to ensure you’re keeping healthy, don’t be afraid to eat foods that make YOU feel good- this might mean leaning into those weird cravings. The fact you’ve taken the time to read this article means that you care for your baby’s wellbeing which in hindsight, makes you an amazing mum 😊
- Keely A, Cunningham-Burley S, Elliott L, Sandall J, Whittaker A. “If she wants to eat…and eat and eat…fine! It's gonna feed the baby”: Pregnant women and partners' perceptions and experiences of pregnancy with a BMI >40 kg/m 2. Midwifery. 2017;49:87-94.
- Nutrition During Pregnancy [Internet]. Acog.org. 2021 [cited 22 August 2022]. Available from: https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/nutrition-during-pregnancy
- Li N, Zhao G, Wu W, Zhang M, Liu W, Chen Q et al. The Efficacy and Safety of Vitamin C for Iron Supplementation in Adult Patients With Iron Deficiency Anemia. JAMA Network Open. 2020;3(11):e2023644.
- Harvey L, Dainty J, Hollands W, Bull V, Hoogewerff J, Foxall R et al. Effect of high-dose iron supplements on fractional zinc absorption and status in pregnant women. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2007;85(1):131-136.