Nutrition - Balancing your plate

What you choose eat during pregnancy has a great impact on both the baby’s and mother’s health before and after birth. Pregnancy creates extra demands on the body along with increased requirements for certain nutrients (which I’m going to talk you through now)  Ignore the misconception that you need to eat fo two, you should just make sure that what you are eating offers good nutritional value.) Balanced Diet – So, First & foremost eating an overall balanced diet is key. That starts with getting the balance right at meal times. A healthy meal should contain protein rich food like fish, chicken, eggs or beans (this should take up about ¼ of the plate)

Protein

Protein is needed for growth and development of cells. Another quarter or so of the plate should be filled with healthy carbohydrates like brown rice, potatoes, quinoa (this will give mother and baby a slow steady release of energy). And finally, roughly half the plate should be filled with vegetables which are full of vitamins and a great source of fibre - very important for preventing constipation which is common in pregnancy. Eating 3 balanced meals a day with a couple of small healthy snacks in-between ensures that mum and baby get all the nutrition they need along with a healthy amount of weight gain.

Folate 

One of the most crucial vitamins in pregnancy is folate, a B vitamin which helps with the development of your baby’s brain and spinal cord. Good natural food sources include green veg like spinach, broccoli, asparagud, citrus fruits (orange/grapefruit/straw) as well as avocado and lentils. You should include plenty of folate rich foods into your diet on a daily basis. Supplement wise, I recommend taking the active form of folate (called methylfolate) which is very well absorbed by the body, it’s recommend for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Calcium & Vit D:

Getting enough Calcium & vitamin D is also very important for your baby’s bone development and muscle function. Dairy products like milk, yogurt and cheese are rich in calcium & vitamin D. Good non-dairy sources include green leafy vegetables, eggs, nuts & seeds and sardines, (show almonds, sunflower seeds), Almonds are also great for easing nausea which is a bonus too!

Omega 3:

Consuming enough Omega 3 fats will aid your baby’s brain and eye development and boost mums physical & mental health too. Oily fish like salmon and mackerel are great sources (aim for 2 portions a week to give your little Einstein a head start) Good plant sources include the likes of walnuts, chia/flax seeds – Add one or two spoons to your breakfast cereal or porridge in the mornings..

Iron 

It’s well known that women need more iron during pregnancy - We need iron to carry oxygen in red blood cells to all parts of our body. There are two types of dietary iron - haem iron - found in meat, poultry, and fish which is very well absorbed annd non haem iron found in beans, lentils, nuts and dark green veg – this type of iron is not as easily absorbed. However, eating fruit or vegetables rich in Vitamin C at the same time as these foods will enhance iron absorption. For example: pairing a mandarin with some cashew nuts, adding tomatoes, peppers or lemon juice to a bean salad etc. Iron Supp: Mid way through pregnancy many women will find that their iron levels drop and they need to take an iron supplement. Multi It can also be useful to take a good quality multi-vitamin during pregnancy to make sure both mum & baby are getting all the nutrients needed -

 

Supplements 

Multis

GNC Women's Prenatal Formula provides nutritional support for Mom & Baby before, during, & after pregnancy. This product features 1000mcg of folic acid to support fetal development 600mg of calcium for added bone health support It also has Vitamin D3 to support calcium absorption. Available with & without iron. The Iron version - 18mg of Iron to support fetal needs and a mother's increased blood volume*. Just €10.95

GNC Microbio Prenatal

Probiotics

GNC experts have chosen specific probiotic strains targeted for pregnant and breastfeeding women, these include:
1. LAB4B Complex is a patented blend of two Lactobacillus and two Bifidobacterium strains that have been clinically studied in pregnancy (Swansea Baby Study) to support skin and immune
health.
2. Lactobacillus Rhamnosus GG is a well-documented strain that has been identified in more than 760 scientific studies and 260 clinical trials.