Certain vitamins and mineral, such as folate and iodine, are recommended to be started before trying to fall pregnant. Other high dose vitamins, such as vitamin A, non-essential dietary supplements, and herbal preparations are recommended to be discontinued.
Some foods such as unpasteurised milk, cheeses or raw/undercooked meats are generally not recommended as they can carry pathogens that can be harmful to your pregnancy. Maintaining good hygiene during food preparation such as hand washing, cleaning cutting boards before use, and rinsing fresh fruits and vegetables before consumption becomes very important.
Listeria can survive temperatures up to 65°C. Cooking foods to temperatures higher than this kill the bacteria. When it comes to meat, this usually equates to medium-well to well done. Once food is cooked, it is also important to avoid cross-contamination.
Caffeine intake should be limited to 200-300mg per day (equivalent 1-2 cups of coffee). There are no safe limits to alcohol and therefore it should be avoided.
Pregnancy increases your requirements for essential nutrients and energy. The best diet for you and your baby will include lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. We recommend you have some low-fat dairy products, as well protein-containing food. You can have well-cooked fish, meat or other protein in the form of beans and nuts. You will need to replenish your calcium levels in other forms if you do not have any dairy. Green leafy vegetables (eg broccoli) or almonds, oranges, or white beans are a good alternative source of calcium. Depending on their initial iron stores, many pregnant women will require iron supplementation during pregnancy and post-delivery. This can be established with a blood test during your antenatal care.
Vegetarian diets can sometimes miss some essential nutrients that are important in pregnancy. Our advice would be to see a nutritionist to optimize your diet prior to your pregnancy.
If you are planning a pregnancy and wish to get more advice regarding proper diet, you can visit us at Sunnybank Centre for Women so we can point to in the right direction for a healthy start to your pregnancy.