Why is diet important in pregnancy, and what do you need to know?

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If you find yourself reading this, then the chances are that you’re expecting a baby – congratulations! Whether you’re still in the early stages, or months into your pregnancy, knowing the types of foods you should be eating is important for yours and baby’s health – but we also understand it can be overwhelming to try and know everything you should be doing.

There are hundreds, even thousands, of websites out there offering help and advice on the do’s and don’ts of pregnancy and diet – but it’s important to remember that not everything you read will apply to you. So, where do you start?

At Hello Baby, we believe in giving expectant mothers like you the tools and guidance you need to take control of your health during this special time, and today we’re focusing on diet and nutrition.

1.Folic acid

A prenatal vitamin, folic acid should become a daily part of your diet during the early stages of pregnancy. There can be a lot of things to remember, but folic acid is certainly one thing that we advise you prioritise, as taking it in the early stages of pregnancy can help to prevent birth defects in your baby’s spinal cord and brain.

Folate supplements only need to be taken once a day, but the huge impact it has on the production of red blood cells and brain development is well worth the commitment.

You can also get folate through natural sources such as fortified cereals and dark green vegetables such as kale and citrus fruits.

2. “Eating for two”

When you’re pregnant, it’s natural to gain weight as part of the baby growing process. However, the myth that you need to “eat for two” is not quite true. Whilst it’s certainly important that you ensure you’re getting a balanced diet full of nutritional value, consuming large amounts of extra calories can lead to excess weight gain, which could in turn have some health complications for you during pregnancy.

If you’re unsure how many calories you should be consuming during pregnancy, we advise contacting your doctor who will be able to advise you on the appropriate intake based on your specific requirements.

Remember, every woman is different and factors such as height, weight and other pre-existing conditions can have a direct impact on what you should be doing.

3. Vitamins, minerals and fibre

Whilst it’s always an option to take approved vitamins and supplements during your pregnancy, it’s always best to get as many vitamins and minerals as you can through eating the right foods. When you’re pregnant, your baby will take a lot of the vital nutrients you consume, so it’s important you take extra care during this time to build ample stores of all that both you and your baby will need.

Simply eating a minimum portion of five fruit and veg a day can help massively. Not only will it aid your digestion and combat constipation, which is a common side effect of pregnancy, but it will also help to keep you feeling healthy and full.

4. Iron

Iron is a crucial mineral needed during pregnancy, and one that is easily depleted when carrying a baby. For this reason, it’s important to ensure you’re getting at least 27mg of iron each day. This may sound like a lot, but knowing what foods are high in iron can help you to make informed choices throughout the day.

Foods rich in iron include:

  • Leafy greens such as spinach, kale, collard greens and swiss chard
  • Meat and poultry (not including liver which shouldn’t be consumed during pregnancy)
  • Dairy produce such as milk, yoghurt and hard cheeses
  • Tofu
  • Fortified foods
  • Pulses such as beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, soybeans, black-eyed peas, black beans, peas, lima beans
  • Nuts and seeds including pumpkin seeds, cashews, hemp seeds, pistachios, pine nuts, sunflower seeds

5. Protein

When it comes to supporting healthy cell growth, protein is essential during pregnancy. Protein helps make up the cells that can be found throughout every aspect of our body including tissue, muscles, hair, skin and fingernails, so it’s essential for the growth of your baby. Not only that, but with the physical changes going on in your body, protein plays a big part in helping support you too – so knowing which foods can help is pretty important.

Luckily, there are plenty of safe foods you can eat that are rich in protein, here are just a few:

  • Beans and pulses
  • Fish (oily fishes such as salmon, sardines and mackerel are particularly beneficial)
  • Eggs (British red lion stamped eggs only)
  • Lean meats (it is recommended that pregnant women avoid eating liver)
  • Poultry
  • Nuts

6. Dairy – calcium

Important for strong bones and teeth, as well as the growth of a healthy heart, muscles and nerves – calcium should be a key part of your diet during pregnancy. For you, calcium can help protect against hypertension and preeclampsia, and can help keep your body strong whilst you grow your baby – so it’s certainly worth picking out some of your favourite foods from the list below:

  • Cheese (avoid soft cheeses such as feta and brie)
  • Milk
  • Fromage frais and yoghurt
  • Soya drinks and yoghurts
  • Orange juice
  • Calcium-fortified cereals
  • Dark, leafy greens

Who is Hello Baby?

Hello Baby specialises in 3D baby scans and 4D baby scans in the North West – but that’s not all we do. Our friendly team of professionals can offer reassurance and advice to expectant mothers. So, whether you’d like to book in for an early gender scan, or would just like a bit of guidance with an aspect of your pregnancy, why not give us a ring?

Customer Feedback

  • Kayt Haxby ★★★★★
    Honestly had the BEST experience at Hello Baby.
    We had a rocky start to our pregnancy so we have been to hello baby 3 times now just so we can feel reassured and one of which was for our gender scan. We have been made to feel welcome and
    … More comfortable every single time, but today has outdone the previous experiences by far. And they were already hard to beat.
    The lady who scanned my wife spent extra time with us, no rushing, evening helped get our baby moving around so we could see him better. She gave us a plenty time, and then even went the extra mile and gave us a tiny glimpse of him in 4D.
    We cannot recommend them enough. Friendly staff, great atmosphere and all round GREAT experience! Deffo worth going! 🥰🥰
  • Harriet Wall ★★★★★
    Had our gender scan today and took the kids so they could be part of it. We travelled quite far for the scan and was well worth it! Really welcoming staff and excellent service at the scan. Scan was really clear and we could clearly see … More he was a boy 💙💙 would definitely recommend.
  • And ★★★★★
    Loved our experience at Hello Baby 😃 been here twice ... once in 2018, and again in February 2021. I wanted the gender of my baby kept a surprise as we wanted a gender reveal cannon, and they did not disappoint or give anything away! Staff … More are very friendly and polite. Thank you so much again! Would recommend 5***
  • Merf.Wendy Price ★★★★★
    I came here for a private scan because I was not sure how far gone I was. I got a shock to realise I was already half way through pregnancy and I was having a boy. Came here again for a bonding scan and got some lovely photos. The staff … More were really friendly and I enjoyed the experience. Would definitely recommend xxx
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    Lovely experience for our first scan! We went for an early reassurance scan and that’s exactly what we got. We turned up at the wrong time but they still fitted us in there and then no waiting around. Would recommend to others in the future … More
  • Jane Jones ★★★★★
    Amazing Experience
    I came to Hello Baby with my daughter for an Early and Bonding Scan, unfortunately they was closed for the gender due to lockdown.
    We had the best experience on both occasions, the receptionist was lovely and friendly
    … More and Katie was fantastic and very professional with what she does.
    On my daughters 1st scan she was too early to detect a heart beat so Katie very kindly offered us to come back the following week for a re scan. It was emotional to hear Katie offering her congratulations the following week and we got the best pictures you can get at such a early date.
    The bonding scan, Katie tried her best and wasn’t going to give up as the baby was in the wrong position, we was told to go for a walk and for my daughter to drink a lucozade.
    Upon our return, the baby had moved position and Katie again got us some amazing images.
    Everybody we met at Hello Baby was warm, welcoming and friendly, nothing was to much trouble and wasn’t rushed.
    We was asked on each occasion if we was happy with the scan pictures before buying them.
    Would definitely recommend and wouldn’t go any where else.
    Thank you Katie and team 💕
  • Annie Kay ★★★★★
    Visited with my Daughter and Son in law. Had the most fantastic experience and loved seeing my little Grandson on screen. Kate was brilliant and everyone made us feel so welcome. Highly recommended.
  • Charlotte Hewitt ★★★★★
    19 week gender scan so professional, nicola on reception was very helpful getting me booked in and arranging my gender reveal heart beat bear. Katie scanned me and told me an my partner when to look away and gave us lots of good views of … More our baby on the screen. I will definitely be booking 3d poss 4d scan in a few weeks. Thanks girls xx
  • J R ★★★★★
    My daughter suprised me with a 4D scan of my first grandchild.
    We were able to see a lovely image of my new granddaughter.
    The staff made our visit so special.
    Super friendly with a personal touch.
    Very memorable.
    Thankyou girls ♥️x
  • Ian Cousins ★★★★★
    What can I say! Katie made our day magical from the moment we walked in. Her care and enthusiasm for our gender reveal was amazing.
    Our little boy wouldn't move but Katie expertly got him in position to achieve some amazing pictures
    … More and footage of him. Thank you all at hello baby!
  • Henna Hussain ★★★★★
    David is amazing! By far the funniest, genuine and caring man I have ever come across. Thank you for the warm hospitality and advice. I will definitely be coming here for my scans in the very near future!
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    I went today for my gender scan. I would highly recommend hello baby. Both ladies who was on shift was kind, friendly and welcoming. I felt comfortable during my scan, the lady was patient and reassuring throughout. Thanks for a nice experience … More and I look forward to seeing you again later in pregnancy 😊 ♥

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