A Guide to Nutrition for Expecting Mums

Congratulations on your pregnancy! A bundle of joy is on the way! As you are aware, maintaining a healthy diet is essential for both your well-being and the healthy growth of your baby. In this article, we offer some valuable tips for you to eat well during your pregnancy journey. 

Tip 1: Eat a well-balanced meal by enjoying a variety of foods

There is an old saying that “you need to eat for two during pregnancy”. It is a common misconception. While it is true that pregnant women may need to eat more to support the growth and development of the baby, the focus should be on the quality of the diet rather than simply increasing the quantity.

For a well-balanced meal, you can choose a mix of healthy foods from the four food groups, including carbohydrates, protein, fruits and vegetables.

  • Carbohydrates: Rice, whole wheat bread, oats and quinoa provide energy and essential nutrients like fibre, vitamins and minerals.
  • Proteins: Lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, lentils, tofu and nuts are excellent sources of protein, which is essential for the baby’s growth and development. Dairy products such as milk, yoghurt and cheese are great for bone health and development.
  • Fruits and vegetables: Colorful fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that support overall health and help prevent constipation.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day
Tip 2: Avoid certain foods during pregnancy

It is especially important to avoid these foods that pose a risk to your and your baby’s health:

  • Raw and undercooked meats, eggs and seafood.
  • Unpasteurised soft cheeses such as camembert, bri​e and gorgonzola may contain harmful bacteria.
  • Large deep-sea fishes like sharks, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish may contain high levels of mercury and heavy metals.
  • Unwashed salads or ready-to-eat salads.
  • Raw sprouts including alfalfa, clover, radish and mung bean sprouts.
  • Alcoholic drinks.
Tip 3: Eat small and frequent meals throughout the day when you feel unwell with morning sickness

It is common for pregnant mums to experience morning sickness during four to six weeks of pregnancy. The symptoms will peak between 8 and 12 weeks and begin to improve thereafter. When you are down with morning sickness, you might feel fatigued and not like eating much. However, you still need to eat something to support your pregnancy. The best way to manage morning sickness is by having small and frequent meals throughout the day.

Also, here are some other helpful tips to calm your morning sickness:

  • Try ginger tea.
  • Eat dry, easily digestible carbohydrates, which have a lower risk of upsetting your stomach such as oat, cream crackers, salted biscuits and dry cereal help with morning sickness.
  • Protein-rich foods such as hard-boiled eggs, yoghurt, wholemeal bread with cheese or peanut butter or jam, chicken sandwiches, nuts and seeds.
  • Avoid fried or fatty foods, which will take longer for digestion and cause nausea.
Tip 4: Take prenatal supplements every day

Taking prenatal supplements helps you to fill in the nutritional gap, ensuring you and your baby get all the nutrients needed for healthy growth and development

  • Prenatal Multivitamins- Prenatal vitamins are formulated to contain a higher content of micronutrients to meet the increased demand during pregnancy. Remember to take prenatal multivitamins prescribed by your gynaecologist every day. If you would like to buy any multivitamins on your own, it is good to consult your gynaecologist before doing so.
  • Folic acid- Need to be taken from preconception till the 12th week of pregnancy. ​Folic acid is essential to reduce the risk of congenital disabilities, e.g, abnormal development of the spinal cord in the baby during the early stages of pregnancy.
  • Omega Fish oil – Rich in Omega-3 fatty acids that help with the baby’s brain and eye development.
  • Calcium supplement- Vital for the maintenance of the mother’s bones and the development of the baby’s bones.

Follow these tips to ensure a healthy diet during your pregnancy. Especially during the first few weeks of pregnancy- when you are unwell with morning sickness, eating small and frequent meals is effective in managing the symptoms. After the first three months, a good appetite and steady weight gain usually mean that you are eating enough. However, if you are struggling to eat well during your pregnancy for any reason, it is important to speak to your gynaecologist to get some support.

Also, read our information article on “Preparing for Your Baby’s Arrival: Do You Need A Confinement Nanny?” here.

 

References:

  1. https://www.healthhub.sg/live-healthy/pregnancy-eat-well-mum
  2. https://www.healthxchange.sg/women/pregnancy/foods-avoid-during-pregnancy
  3. https://www.babycenter.com/pregnancy/diet-and-fitness/10-healthy-snacks-for-pregnancy_10396237