Eating for two doesn’t mean eating twice as much as before, but it does mean that you should pay twice as much attention to healthy eating. It is important to eat many different types of foods to provide your growing baby with all the elements needed for a healthy pregnancy.
In particular, fruits and vegetables are important for the prevention of constipation and infections. Protein is required to support healthy fetal growth. Iron, calcium, folic acid and other essential vitamins and nutrients are also all important for your baby’s development. The World Health Organization suggests that this can be obtained through the consumption of a variety of foods, including green and orange vegetables, meat, fish, beans, nuts, whole grains and fruit.
If you already follow good eating habits then this shouldn’t be too different to what you’re used to. However, if your diet is poor you need to start making changes now. Focus on healthy eating from the moment you begin planning a pregnancy. This is because the foundations for most of your baby’s vital organs develop during the first few weeks of pregnancy (even before you’re aware of the pregnancy). Gradually try to exclude fried foods, processed or ready-made foods, soft drinks and foods with dyes. This is especially the case in late pregnancy, when the immune system of the fetus matures and can develop allergies in response to certain foods.
Your food choices can also affect the severity of your symptoms. Try to identify trigger foods for nausea, vomiting, heartburn and constipation, so that you can avoid them. To prevent heartburn, don’t overeat (especially at night) and don’t skip meals. It’s better to eat small portions often.
It’s also very important to stay hydrated. Increased water intake is required during pregnancy to support a higher blood volume, fetal circulation and amniotic fluid, so aim for 8-10 glasses a day. However, drink less before bedtime, as frequent urination can lead to disruptive sleep.