The key is to ensure that your diet is well-balanced containing all the food nutrients, with an increased amount of calories, usually about 350 to 450 more per day than usual.
It is however the quality of weight gain that is important – i.e. building necessary tissues rather than just adding fat, which can arise mostly from no-nutrient calories. A wholesome and varied diet is crucial to avoid wasted calories from junk food and to provide plenty of nutrient-rich foods to satisfy the increased needs for most of the vitamins, minerals and protein.
Eggs, fish poultry, organ meats, milk products, red meats, whole grains, nuts and seeds, seaweeds and green leafy vegetables can all be eaten daily. A high fiber diet with whole grains, fruits, and vegetables is important for good bowel function to avoid constipation which can be common during pregnancy.
At least 6-8 glasses of water per day on top of herbal teas is important to keep hydrated (raspberry leaf tea is thought to tone up the uterus and encourage a healthy labour).
Making smoothies can be a great way to get lots of nutrients into your system in one go, particularly if you’ve gone off certain flavours you might find that when they’re blended together in a drink they are often better tolerated.
Alongside a well-balanced diet it is as important to look after your mental and physical health so do make it a priority to take time out of your day to relax, take a walk, do a slow yoga class, a 10 minute meditation, have a hot bath, listen to some relaxing music or read a book. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the changes happening in your body and all the information out there so by taking this time out you can step back from it all and remember that your body knows exactly what it’s doing and you just have to guide it in the right direction.
Always seek expert advice from a professional regarding nutrition and exercise during pregnancy.
Words by regular contributor, Hannah Fletcher