Pregnancy and You

Pregnancy is a time of rapid change and growth not just for the baby but for the mother and her body. To ensure your health is in good condition before, during and after pregnancy, it is important to make some simple diet and lifestyle changes.


This is the time to get your body in prime shape for conception. It’s important for a mother to be healthy and avoid any harmful activities as she prepares her body to conceive because the first few weeks of pregnancy are vital for the development of your baby.

  • Clean up your diet – Incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats such as fish and free‐range organic poultry, legumes, whole grains and dairy. Cut down on processed and packaged foods (cakes, biscuits, potato chips, and soft drinks), alcohol and caffeine, and avoid smoking. This is also important for the father.
  • Take a pregnancy multivitamin – Taking a pregnancy multivitamin or folic acid supplement with at least 400mcg of folic acid one month before conception and during pregnancy, may reduce the risk of having a child with neural tube defects. It will also provide extra nutrients including omega‐3, iodine and calcium to support you and your future baby.
  • Incorporate daily exercise – Some good exercise options include walking, swimming, cycling, yoga, Pilates and aerobics or whatever your body is used to doing.
  • Track your menstrual cycle, so you are aware when you are ovulating to increase your chance of pregnancy.
During pregnancy (Prenatal Care)
  • Eat a variety of healthy foods to ensure you get a wide variety of nutrients. Your calcium and iron needs increase during pregnancy, so include plenty of yoghurt, milk, hard cheese, broccoli, lean red meat and leafy greens.
  • Take a pregnancy supplement to ensure you are receiving adequate amounts of nutrients, including omega 3 and iodine for the development of your baby’s brain, calcium and vitamin D for the development of your baby’s bones and protection of your own, as well as B vitamins to support your increased energy requirements.
  • Avoid mould‐ripened soft cheeses like brie, camembert and chevre, undercooked meat, raw eggs and shellfish, pre‐packaged salads and cold, cured deli meats (like salami, ham and chorizo). These foods may make you ill or harm your baby. It’s better to eat freshly cooked or freshly prepared food. 1
  • Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to eat for two during pregnancy. A small amount of extra kilojoules, around 600kJ or an extra two servings of fruit, is recommended during the second and third trimester. 2
  • To prevent morning sickness and nausea during pregnancy, drink liquids between meals rather than during, avoid large meals and greasy or spicy dishes, eat dry bread or cereal before getting up in the morning, suck something sour like a lemon2 and/or have a fresh ginger tea.
  • Exercise during pregnancy is important, but shouldn’t be too strenuous. Keep active on a daily basis but make sure you warm up beforehand and cool down afterwards, drink plenty of water and try swimming. The water in the pool will support your increased weight and decrease the stress on your changing body.3 Also ensure you strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, which come under great strain in pregnancy and childbirth. A pregnancy Pilates or yoga class should help you with this.
Post‐pregnancy and breastfeeding
  • Breastfeeding requires a lot of extra energy, so aim for three balanced meals a day and have a ready supply of nutritious snacks on hand.4
  • Take a pregnancy and breastfeeding supplement to ensure you are receiving adequate nutrients during this demanding time.
  • Try to have a ‘time out’ every day, even if it’s just 20 minutes for a bath, read a book or phone a friend.

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