Not only are a good diet and exercise important for your own health during pregnancy, they're also important for the baby.
Your diet during pregnancy sets the whole tone for your future child’s health,’ Dr Ginni Mansberg says.
‘In other words, if you eat rubbish during your pregnancy, your child is more likely to grow up and get diabetes, even if you’ve brought them up on a healthy diet.’
Here’s what experts suggest you do before giving birth.
FOLLOW THE RAINBOW
Mater senior maternity research dietitian Dr Shelley Wilkinson says women need to ‘go for 2&5’ in pregnancy – that is, two serves of fruit and five servings of vegies every day.
‘Pregnant women should aim for at least three different coloured vegetables each day, as well as whole fruits,’ she says. With fewer than one in 10 women meeting their fruit and vegie needs, Dr Wilkinson
says this should be one of the most important goals.
MIX IT UP
Dr Mansberg says choosing what to eat is not rocket science. 'Eat less out of a packet, more natural and fresh vegies, fruit, lean meat, chicken, fish and eggs,' she says.
‘I’d add to this the importance of dairy for your bones and for the baby, which is building an entire skeleton.’
Dr Mansberg also recommends eating iron-rich foods such as lean meat, and foods with folic acid like leafy greens.
CHUG THE WATER
Dr Mansberg recommends pregnant women drink three litres of water a day to stay hydrated. ‘You need to hydrate yourself and your baby. And if you think it’s easy to drink that amount of fluid, you’re crazy, because sometimes, when pregnant you feel all you want to do is pee – but we need to up that fluid!’ she laughs.
When it comes to exercise, Dr Mansberg’s advice is clear: you can do anything, within reason. ‘We recommend that you do whatever you did pre-pregnancy – that includes running and lifting weights,’ she says. ‘We only worry about anything that could traumatise the uterus. We wouldn’t want you falling off a horse or having a skiing collision... Other than that, go for it.’ Exercise can also help relieve back pain.
Follow these tips from Dr Shelley Wilkinson to ease the quease!
• Choose much smaller portion sizes and eat a small meal or snack every two hours. Having an empty stomach or a full stomach can make nausea worse.
• Try to include carbohydrates and protein-rich foods at each meal or snack – these may improve symptoms of nausea and vomiting.
• Avoid high-fat foods – such as fried foods, full-cream dairy and fatty meats – as they’re harder to digest and sit in your stomach longer. • Wait... and wait... Fortunately, most women will find that morning sickness symptoms tend to ease on their own by the second trimester. So time may eventually provide the best relief.