How to: Ensure you get all the nutrients you need when pregnant
It is a misconception that a mum-to-be is eating for two, says Natalie Lamb, nutritional therapist. She shares her top tips for eating well during pregnancy
Of course mums-to-be want to do the best for their developing baby and one of the most important ways to do this is with the food that we eat, says Natalie.
Eating a colourful range of natural organic wholefoods is a good way to obtain a wide range of vitamins and minerals. Adding plenty of protein and essential fats as well as avoiding obvious sugar and processed foods will hep you balance your diet that will benefit you and baby.
It is a misconception that the mother is eating for two! However, the quality of the food is important.
Increase protein levels
An extra one to two eggs, a piece of salmon or a tin of tuna a day would be beneficial especially from the second trimester. Natalie explains that evidence suggests omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in early brain development of an unborn baby. These can be found in foods such as oily fish, avocado, nuts and seeds or taking additionally in a supplement form.
During pregnancy the foetus is likely to take all the nutrients it needs to grow a strong healthy baby, leaving mum with what remains.
The truth about cravings
Cravings are traditionally believed to be a sign of a deficiency of particular nutrients for example dust, charcoal, dirt and ice cravings were said to indicate an iron deficiency, whereas chalk and plaster cravings (wanting to lick walls) may indicate a calcium deficiency.
Sugar cravings could be due to blood sugar imbalances, low mood or an imbalanced or the gut flora such as a Candida overgrowth. Including good quality protein and fats with each meal such as those from grass feed meat, oily fish, avocado, nuts and seeds.
If you find yourself craving salt, try to keep to natural unrefined versions of Sea Salt or Himalayan Rock Salt that not only contain sodium but also the other elements naturally found in the rock such as much needed iodine. Why not try natural probiotic fermented salty food such as sauerkraut instead of reaching for that bag of crisps! Taking a multi-strain probiotic, such as Bio-Kult, daily could help to improve digestive function and subsequent absorption of nutrients and to help rebalance gut flora and reduce yeast overgrowth.
Natalie's suggested 3 meals a day plus snacks for pregnant women
Start the day with some scrambled free range eggs, cooked in butter with a little tomato and mushrooms, served alone or on a slice of sourdough toast
Mid-morning snack – yoghurt, or have some celery and cottage cheese
Winter months - try a hearty vegetable and meat soup slow cooked with homemade stock
Summer lunch try a mixed salad with smoked mackerel and sprouted seeds drizzled with olive oil
A mid-afternoon snack could be some cheese and pickle or avocado on an oat cake or some nuts and seeds
End the day with a satisfying dinner of slow cooked grass fed meat or fish, steamed green vegies and some mashed potato, squash and/or celeriac