By Nutritionist Megan Crockart
Congratulations on falling pregnant! Pregnancy is a wonderful time of exciting things to come, but can also be a time of some strange and interesting changes to your body and lifestyle.
If you read my article on Pre-Pregnancy Planning (click here to read) and have been following the recommendations set out in that article, then continue with these recommendations throughout your pregnancy.
There are a couple of important things to consider now you are pregnant. There seems to be no debate on the effects of smoking and illicit drug taking while pregnant and the majority of women make sure they stop smoking/drugs while pregnant. (Please note, don’t stop prescribed medication without talking to your health care practitioner first).
There still seems to be some uncertainty as to the consumption of alcohol while pregnant and whether it is actually safe to have a glass here and there. The current guidelines recommend that no alcohol be consumed during pregnancy as there is actually no known amount of alcohol that cause ill effects to the baby, therefore it is recommended not to take any risk at all with any amount of alcohol. I personally have no desire for alcohol while pregnant, which made the decision easy for me.
Exercise is highly recommended and very beneficial for pregnant ladies. If you already have been doing exercise than there is no reason to stop – just make sure you don’t overheat yourself. If you are just starting exercise now you are pregnant, then gentle exercise such as walking, swimming and yoga should be safe. If you have any concerns then chat to your obstetrician or midwife to rule out any reason why exercise is not safe during your pregnancy.
What to eat and avoid?
There are plenty of lists you can find doing a Google search to let you know which foods are safe to eat during pregnancy, as there is the focus on reducing/eliminating foods that contain certain bacterias, so I am not going to repeat any lists here. I would like to point out though that one food that doesn’t seem to get a mention, which definitely should, is cold rice. This can develop Listeria very quickly in the cooling down process. So if you are going to have rice, don’t eat it cold have it freshly cooked (therefore avoidance of sushi is further important – not just the raw fish). You can reheat it, but make sure it’s very well heated.
Like each and everyone one of us, we are all very different creatures and so too is each and every pregnancy. Are you currently pregnant and suffering from morning sickness? Which by the way is such an inaccurate name as most pregnant ladies can experience morning sickness symptoms at any time of the day or night. I propose the name be changed to “Pregnancy Sickness”. Who agrees?
Morning Sickness Tips
- Start the day by having dry crackers by the bed and as soon as you wake up (before sitting up), eat a cracker before you start feeling nauseous or having dry toast as soon as you get up.
- Eat regular healthy snacks or small regular meals to keep nausea at bay (fruit, vegie sticks and hummus/tahini, mixed nuts and seeds, various crackers or bread with a nut paste or cottage cheese, yoghurt, miso soup). Don’t wait until you feel nauseous to eat. If you aren’t usually the snacking type – now is the time to start snacking regularly.
- If your taste changes and you just cannot stomach something you normally would love then eat what you are comfortable eating. Of course don’t go crazy on the junk food, but if you can only stomach something that is not so healthy, it is better than not eating at all at this point in the pregnancy.
- Increase protein and complex carbohydrate foods. Increase Vitamin B6 containing foods eg Avocado, bananas, carrot, chicken, egg, legumes, lentils, peanuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, cooked salmon and tuna (or inquire about a good Vitamin B6 supplement).
- Eat plain foods when nauseous eg toast, crackers, rice or anything that appeals to you.
- Drink ginger tea (use grated ginger and pour boiling water over) or buy ginger tea bags. Ginger beer can be helpful. Basically anything ginger should help with the nausea – you can buy ginger tablets if you can’t handle eating/drinking ginger products.
- Reduce fatty foods and acidic foods such as citrus fruits or juices.
The Pregnancy Shake
½ to 1 cup apple juice
1-2 tsp blackstrap molasses
1-2 teaspoon nutritional yeast
½ – 1 cup yoghurt (of choice eg goat, soy, cows, sheep, coconut etc)
1 tablespoon wheat germ or ground flaxseeds
1-2 tablespoons of honey or pure maple syrup
1-2 – 1 cup milk (of choice eg cows, rice, oat, almond, soy etc)
1/3 teaspoon powdered kelp
Blend all ingredients.
Any fruits and juices can be used to suit taste. Shake can be diluted with water if needed. Vanilla can be used for flavouring. Or blend up raw almonds or sunflower seeds. Coconut oil can also be added.
**If this shake is too much and not appealing at all, try something more simple to begin with such as just a banana, yoghurt and milk or water along with some flaxseed/chia seed and a little bit of maple syrup.
Megan is a qualified nutritionist who specialises in pre-pregnancy planning, pregnancy advice, breastfeeding advice and menopause. Megan is currently pregnant with her first baby so is also experiencing this magical world first hand.
Contact her on email@example.com for more information or click here to book an appointment with her.
Stay tuned for her next article addressing gestational diabetes and low blood sugar levels…