Nutrition And Lifestyle Tips For A Healthy Pregnancy


Published: September 23, 2014

Savvy nutrition and lifestyle choices will help your body cope with the swings and roundabouts of pregnancy, as well as ensuring that your baby has the very best start in life – and yes, this begins in the womb!


We are strictly warned about what not to eat during pregnancy (cold cuts of meat, excess caffeine, alcohol, soft cheeses etc.) but rarely are we given any practical and professional advice about what we should be eating. The fact is, eating a truly nutritious diet during pregnancy is one of the greatest gifts that you can give your unborn child, and the benefits of such will last long after they bounce into the world. Latest research has discovered that dietary choices before and during pregnancy may directly impact a child’s predisposition to become obese and/or develop serious conditions like diabetes later in life.

A ‘balanced’ diet is all well and good, but what does that actually mean? – A cream cake after every salad?! A pregnant woman needs to eat all of the vital components required to support both her own body and the epic task of making a mini-me; proteins, fats, complex carbohydrates, vegetables, fruits.

Healthy Pregnancy

Protein is one of the most significant dietary needs during pregnancy.

Protein is one of the most significant dietary needs during pregnancy, as this food group provides the ‘building blocks’ to make your baby and support your own development as a baby mama. Your requirements notch up to 80g+ every day whilst you’re pregnant. A good guide is to ensure a palm-sized portion of protein with every meal, such as fish, eggs, meats, pulses or poultry; and focus on protein-rich snacks like nuts, seeds and live yogurt in between.

Eating enough of the ‘right’ fats is vital during pregnancy to make a happy and healthy baby brain. Focus on essential fats from oily fish, olives, seeds, nuts and seed oils.

There are strict guidelines for fish in pregnancy, due to mercury content, which damages the fetal brain. Tuna is particularly dangerous and must be limited to less than 6 oz per week. It’s best to limit total fish consumption during pregnancy to less 12 oz per week. Fish that are safe in pregnancy include Salmon, Sardines, Trout and Catfish.

Eating a daily rainbow of fresh vegetables and fruits helps to provide many of the vitamins and minerals that a baby thrives on, as well as the fiber to keep everything ticking along nicely. Focus on an abundance of green leaves, and the spectrum of colors. Of course, even the most health-conscious mother-to-be cannot manage a perfect diet every day, so a quality multi-nutrient designed for pregnancy is advised to cover all folic acid, iron and micro-nutrient needs, like this one: Rainbow Light Prenatal One Multivitamin.

Eat the Rainbow

Eat the Rainbow

During your second and third trimester, your average calorie requirements notch up by an extra 300 each day. Note: a handful of groundnut (or almonds) and a banana would be an ideal combination to supply these extras, rather than a daily rendezvous with an ice cream tub!


Providing you get your doctor’s nod of approval, exercise is essential to a smooth pregnancy, and a healthy baby too. Regular exercise is shown to help keep pregnancy weight gain in check, and promote a shorter, less complicated labor. Research now demonstrates that your growing infant will benefit with a healthier heart and lower susceptibility to obesity throughout life too.

Healthy Pregnancy

30 minutes of mild-moderate exercise a day is recommended by experts.

30 minutes of mild-moderate exercise a day is recommended by experts. Forget super-charged sprints and instead focus on brisk walking, swimming, and prenatal Pilates and Yoga. Remember pregnancy is not the time to beat personal records. Keep your breathing and heart rate controlled. This prenatal Pilates DVD is a great investment: 10 Minute Solution: Prenatal Pilates.

… & Nurture Your Mind Too

Trying to remain serene may seem an impossible task to a pregnant woman in the modern world, but stress management is more important than ever. It has been discovered that when a pregnant woman is stressed, significant biological changes arise, which include exposing the baby to stress hormones and increased susceptibility to intrauterine infection.

Preterm birth and low birth weight are amongst the most commonly recognized consequences of maternal stress during pregnancy. Prenatal Yoga and meditation are great natural stress busters. Discuss any worries or concerns that you have with a partner or close friend to help release the burden and let go of stress.

Healthy Pregnancy

Discuss any worries or concerns that you have with a partner or close friend

Finally, Thing to Avoid…

Stress is not the only poison to dodge when expecting. Alcohol and smoking are strict no-no’s too. There has not been a ‘safe level’ of alcohol intake determined for pregnancy, therefore experts agree that total abstinence is advised. Among the 4,000+ chemicals in cigarettes are two particularly baby-toxic compounds, nicotine, and carbon monoxide, which partner up to choke off the oxygen supply to your little one.

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About Rachel Henderson

Rachel Henderson is a certified nutritionist, published health writer and magazine columnist. She is co-founder of Food Fairy Nutrition and lives in London, England. Follow her on Twitter @Nutripearls

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