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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What are the nutrition guidelines for a pregnant women?

    I'm 12 weeks pregnant and want to ensure i am eating the correct foods for myself and the baby during the pregnancy. Are there any guidelines? I also want to be sure i dont gain too much weight.
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    Arlene is a registered practising dietitian, with a private practice in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, and has built a strong business over the last … View Profile

    Despite the common idea that women need to ‘eat for two’ when pregnant. there is actually only a small number of extra calories needed in pregnancy. No extra calories are needed during the first 28 weeks and only an extra 200 calories are required during the last 12 weeks, equivalent to 2 slices of bread. It is important you need a varied diet based on a range from the five food groups. Ensure you get enough calcium by having 3 to 4 servings of dairy each day (200g yoghurt, 1 cup milk, 30g cheese). You need to get enough iron, many women do not satisfy this so require a supplement. Red meat is one of the richest sources of iron. Folate is a B vitamin group found in green leafy vegetales, fruit. legumes. It is suggested that a supplement is taken as this prevents spinal tube defexts. More protein is needed during pregnancy to support your baby's growth and changes in your body such as increased breast tissue.

    In general, a healthy balanced diet will provide enough protein to meet your needs.

    Have a healthy pregnancy!

  • Samantha Ling

    Dietitian, Nutritionist

    Samantha is an Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD), consultant and food and nutrition enthusiast. Samantha works in a private practice on the Central Coast, NSW, Rostant … View Profile

    The Australian National Health and Medical Research Council have dietary guidelines for Adults, which includes guidelines during pregnancy and breastfeeding (current as of April 2012 - in the process of updating). These can be obtained from http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/your-health/nutrition/nutrition-guidelines-and-publications

    Increasing your fibre intake from fruit, vegetables and wholegrain/wholemeal breads and cereals may assist in preventing constipation in the later stages of the pregnancy. Some women find taking a fibre supplement is also beneficial - just remember to also increase your fluid intake if you're increasing your fibre!

    The amount of weight YOU should gain depends on what your pre-pregnancy weight was. Generally, if you were within the healthy weight range (body mass index between 18.5-24.99) then a weight gain between 11.5kg-16kg should be expected. For more information on weight gains during pregnancy visit: http://www.health.qld.gov.au/nutrition/resources/antenatal_wght.pdf

    If you're concerned about your rate of weight gain/nutrition during pregnancy it may be worthwhile to talk to your GP or visit an Accredited Practicing Dietitian.

    Wishing you all the best in the health during your pregnancy!

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