Healthy eating during pregnancy
Healthy eating is important to ensure you get all your nutritional needs during pregnancy, keep your blood glucose levels within the target range, and keep to a healthy pregnancy weight gain.
During pregnancy, your body needs extra nutrients, including calcium, iron and folate, to help your baby develop. Eating a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, lean meats, low-fat dairy foods and wholegrain breads and cereals – can help you to meet these extra nutritional needs.
Food safety is also important during pregnancy, so avoid high-risk foods such as processed meats, uncooked meat, cold seafood, raw eggs, soft cheeses and pre-prepared vegetables and salads.
Carbohydrate foods are an important source of energy for your body, especially during pregnancy. These foods include breads and cereals, grains, starchy vegetables, fruit, legumes, yoghurt and milk.
To manage your blood glucose levels, you need to eat the right type and amount of carbs. It’s a good idea to eat some carbs at each meal and snack and the best choices are high in fibre and have a lower glycemic index (GI). These include grainy/seeded breads, rolled oats, natural muesli, pasta, low-GI white or brown rice, milk, yoghurt, legumes and most fruit.
To help keep blood glucose levels in the target range and maintain your energy levels spread your carbs over the day. Large amounts of carbohydrate foods at any one meal or snack can cause blood glucose levels to rise too high. It’s also a good idea to avoid food and drinks that are high in added sugars and have little nutritional value, such as soft drinks, cordial, cakes, biscuits and lollies.
During your pregnancy you should reduce the amount of saturated fat in your diet. Choose lean meats, skinless chicken and low-fat dairy, and avoid takeaway and processed foods. It’s okay to have small amounts of healthy fats like olive or canola oil, unsalted nuts or avocado.
If you’ve been diagnosed with gestational diabetes it’s a good idea to talk to a dietitian who can help you work out the right amount and types of foods that will help you manage your diabetes during your pregnancy.