Looking after your body with a good diet through pregnancy

Pregnancy and Diet: Eating Well When You’re Expecting

You may have heard the news that our Dietitian Ash has given birth to a beautiful baby girl! She shares her best advice on eating well while pregnant to look after both your body and your baby.

Eating Well in Pregnancy

As a Dietitian, I’ve always been passionate about the importance of good nutrition in all walks of life however I do believe that I significantly underestimated the impact that pregnancy would have on my own body. Sometimes knowledge is power but applying the knowledge was more difficult than I thought it was going to be!

Weight Gain in Pregnancy

Contrary to popular belief (and much to my disappointment) you don’t need to increase your calorie intake while you’re pregnant. In the first 28 weeks, your body doesn’t need any extra fuel. Managing your weight during pregnancy can feel a little bit scary and you’ll probably find that the internet is full of confusing and conflicting information, too. As women, we often compare ourselves to others quite a lot but it’s important to remember that every woman, every pregnancy and every body itself, is completely different and unique.

Here’s a couple of simple rules that I found really helpful:

  • Listen to your body, enjoy your food and eat sensibly
  • Keep active – for me, it was really powerful to keep running and exercising during the first and second trimesters
  • As you grow bigger and more unsteady (especially towards the end of the second trimester) it’s worth speaking to gym staff or other health professionals for guidance on safe work outs and levels of exertion – this was really helpful for me.
  • There’s no need to eat for two. I like the phrase, ‘eat for one, be healthy for two’
  • Dieting or losing weight are not often recommended in pregnancy but that doesn’t mean you can’t make healthy changes to your diet and lifestyle
  • Follow the 1-2-3 rule as a rough aim for weight gain:
    • 1 stone if you were overweight pre-pregnancy
    • 2 stone if you were a healthy weight pre-pregnancy, and
    • 3 stone if you were underweight pre-pregnancy
  • Enjoy your changing shape and be positive about it – it’s amazing to watch your body change and adjust each day!

Foods to avoid in pregnancy

Having to think about what foods were safe to eat (and alcohol!) was definitely the hardest part of being pregnant. In fact, my family guessed I was pregnant when I stopped eating blue cheese!

Even though I knew the up-to-date advice, much like with the topic of weight gain, there’s a lot of confusing and conflicting advice on what foods are best avoided being shared on Facebook, among other mums-to-be and even from family members. Once I looked into things, I found that the advice is much easier to follow than I had first thought. The most up to date advice is available on NHS Choices and is really useful for clearing up misconceptions.

If, like Ash, you’re expecting a baby or if you’d simply like more information on eating well, weight management and making better food choices, get in touch with the clinic to book an appointment with our dietitian.

Written by Ash Pigott, Dietitian

Aisling (Ash) Pigott is a HPC registered dietitian with a Bsc (Hons) in Human Nutrition and Dietetics.

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