Food & Nutrition

Pregnancy needs must be met. Always keep in mind that whatever you eat, your baby eats. The following nutrients are particularly importan.

Nutrient Function Foods
Calcium Development of baby’s teeth and bones Dairy products, dark green leafy vegetables, bread, pulses, dried fruit, fish with edible bones, baked beans, nuts, sesame seeds, enriched soya milk.
Iron For you and your baby. Formation of red blood cells Lean red meat, pilchards, dark green vegetables, beans, lentils, eggs, nuts, dried fruit, wholemeal bread, breakfast cereals (see note 1)
Folic acid Development of baby’s organs and tissues, reduces risk of spinal defects such as spina bifida See table above (see note 2)
Vitamin C Helps absorb iron Most fruit and vegetables, richest sources are blackcurrants, citrus fruits and citrus fruit juices
Vitamin D Helps absorb calcium Oily fish (e.g. herring, tuna), eggs, milk, butter, margarine, low fat spreads (see note 3)
Omega-3 essential fatty acids Baby’s brain and nerve development in late pregnancy. Cold water fish, e.g. mackerel, herring, salmon, sardines
Vitamin B12 For healthy blood Only non-animal food source is seaweed but found in fortified foods such as marmite and breakfast cereals

Note 1 Iron in red meat is absorbed more efficiently than iron from other foods so if you are vegetarian make sure you get enough iron. You can increase the amount of iron you absorb from cereals and vegetables by consuming drinks or foods that contain vitamin C with a meal and avoiding tea and coffee at meal times.
Note 2 Also take daily supplement of 400 microgrammes folic acid (400 µg or 0.4 mg) for first 12 weeks of pregnancy (ideally starting at time of conception).
Note 3 Made naturally in response to sunlight so take care if you do not expose your skin to too much sunlight.