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Pregnancy health centre

Pregnancy 'superfoods'

By
WebMD Feature
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks

When you're pregnant you want the best for your baby and that includes what you eat. Your growing child is relying on you for all of their nutrients. So pick lots of healthy baby boosting foods.

Even though you are eating for two that's not an excuse for scoffing twice as much. According to guidelines from NICE - the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence - you don't have to increase your calories until the third trimester - and even then only by 200 calories a day.

Women should try not to put on too much weight during pregnancy as being overweight has health risks for you and your baby.
Ideally women should be a healthy weight when they get pregnant but in real life that's often not the case. If you are overweight to start with the British Dietetic Association suggests trying not to put on more than a stone (6kg) during pregnancy.

Make what you eat count

"Don't fill up on empty calories, make sure what you eat is nutrient dense”, says family nutrition specialist Catherine Jeans. "Your pregnancy diet is important as it has an effect on the health of your child not only in the uterus but throughout its life," she says.

"What you eat in pregnancy has the potential to affect the health of your grandchild as far as genetic development goes, especially if you have a daughter, as the eggs they produce are made when they are in the uterus," says Catherine.

Pregnancy alters your immunity, so it's important to avoid foods that could cause an infection, such as unpasteurised cheeses, cheeses with soft rinds (eg Camembert and Brie), soft blue veined cheeses (such as Danish Blue and Roquefort), and non-UK eggs. It's also important to avoid liver, liver pate and liver sausage, as their vitamin A (retinol) content can be too high for the baby. However, you don't need to go on a special diet, just pick foods that deliver the best nutrients for your baby to develop and grow.

Here are a few of our experts' favourites for you to pick and choose from in pregnancy:

Beef

Why: "Red meat is rich in iron and vitamin B12, which pregnant women are often low in due to the demands of the baby, and making sure there's adequate blood supply and production," says dietitian Rebecca McManamon, who's a spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association.

When you are pregnant you need iron to make enough haemoglobin to match the oxygen needs for you and your growing baby.

Enjoy: Lean cuts like trimmed steaks. Lean minced beef in spaghetti bolognaise, shepherd's pie and chilli.

Tip: It is best to have lean cooked meat rather than cured meats like Palma ham, salami and pepperoni, as the latter are higher in salt and carry a risk of food poisoning if they are not stored properly. If you have a strong craving for cured meats freeze them for at least 4 days before eating to kill bacteria says Rebecca.

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