Eating a balanced diet is especially important when you are pregnant or have a new baby but we also know it can be hard to find the time and energy to eat well.
Aim to eat a variety of these foods every day:
- 5 serves of vegies and legumes/ 2 serves of fruit
- Drink plenty of water
- Cereals, preferably wholegrain – including breads, rice, pasta, and noodles
- 1 serve of lean meat, fish or poultry
- Several serves of dairy
- Limit your saturated fat, salt, sugar and alcohol intake.
Some pregnant women prefer to eat more traditional foods, fruits and flavours. If these foods are enjoyed and well tolerated there is no reason to avoid them.
It may be difficult to find some traditional Sri Lankan fresh fruit in Brisbane but tinned varieties are available.
If you would like to eat more traditional meals but don’t have family to assist, ask friends to prepare a meal for you to freeze until it is needed.
When women are pregnant their nutritional needs increase.
More information on the recommended diets during pregnancy and after baby is born are available at:
Image Source: Australian Government National Health and Medical Research Council Dept. of Health and Ageing, Australian Guide to Healthy Eating, http://goo.gl/D9uax0, 18 July 2014.
When you are pregnant it can be hard to find the time to eat well. It can be difficult if you have morning sickness or feel uncomfortable.
There are many suggested ‘cures’ for morning sickness. There is some evidence that the following may work but different things will work for different women.
- Change your eating habits. Try to avoid an empty or too-full stomach as this makes nausea worse. Eat small, frequent high protein meals during the day.
- Limit the time spent preparing food. Your sense of smell increases in pregnancy and preparing meals can increase nausea. Try to get some help with preparing food or choose foods which don’t require as much preparation. Cold foods tend not to give off as strong odours so they maybe preferred.
- Keep hydrated. Drink small, frequent amounts of water during the day. If keeping water down is hard, try sucking on ice cubes.
- Vitamin B supplements. Vitamin B6 has been found to be effective in reducing nausea and vomiting for some women. Check with your doctor or pharmacist regarding the dose.
- Ginger. Some studies have found ginger reduces nausea and vomiting. Ginger can take the form of tea, ginger capsules, crystallized ginger or ginger ale. However, the sugar in these products may make morning sickness worse for some women.
- Acupuncture/Acupressure wrist bands. Acupuncture has been found to be helpful as have acupressure wrist bands which are designed to treat motion sickness. These bands, available from chemists, work by applying continuous pressure to acupressure points located on the inside of the wrist.
- See your doctor as soon as possible after you develop morning sickness. Early treatment appears to reduce the severity and duration of morning sickness.
Gestational diabetes occurs because changing hormone levels in the body alter the body’s requirement for insulin.
- Click here for a suggested meal plan and information on healthy eating with Gestational Diabetes, from Diabetes Queensland.
When baby arrives
New mum’s can be very tired and sometimes it can be hard to find the time and energy needed to cook healthy meals for you and the family. Things that might help include:
- Cooking some meals ahead of time before the baby arrives and freezing them
- Asking family members for help
- Having a healthy eating plan
- Keep some basic ingredients in the pantry and freezer such as canned vegetables and fruits, packet foods such as pasta, rice, flour, couscous, polenta, rolled oats etc.
- Click here for other tips from the Women's Health booklet, Looking After You.
Breastfeeding and healthy eating
Breastfeeding mums need extra energy and nutrients to make milk and stay healthy. On average, you’ll need an extra 2,000 kilojoules per day more than when you aren’t breastfeeding.
This means an extra 2-3 serves from the fruits and vegies food group and an extra serve from the meat/fish groups.
Eating regular meals and healthy snacks will help to meet your energy, vitamin and mineral needs.
There can be lots of reasons exercise is difficult. Lack of time and childcare, not having an exercise buddy or the cost of gym membership might get in the way of your good intentions to exercise. There are some easy ways to include some exercise in your day when you are pregnant or a new mum:
- Things like energetically vacuuming or sweeping, scrubbing the bathroom or dancing to a song on the radio while the pasta boils all ‘count’ as exercise
- Put on an exercise DVD
- Share babysitting
- When you have less energy put on some music and do some gentle stretches
- If you enjoy walking, you might want to get together with other friends and plan a ‘Parents with Prams’ walk.
- For tips on walking and to find a walking group in your area visit The Heart Foundation’s walking pages
- Click here for more information about exercise during pregnancy.
There are a number of contraceptive options available to women after the birth of their baby.
Using breastfeeding as a form of contraception is often a topic of discussion for women. The medical term for the use of breastfeeding as a contraceptive method is the Lactational Amenorrhoea Method (LAM).
It is important to know that only women who fulfil the following criteria should consider LAM:
- fully breastfeeding and not feeding the baby with any food or milk supplements
- less than 6 months since giving birth
- menstrual periods have not returned since the birth
For more information on LAM or to read more about other forms of contraception:
For advice on safe contraceptives to use while breastfeeding, contact Women’s Health Queensland Wide:
- Click here to ask a question via our website
- Speak directly to one of our midwives by calling (07) 3216 0376 or 1800 017 676.
Pregnancy care in Queensland
The health system in Queensland is different from what is available in Sri Lanka.
The care options available to women will vary depending on individual circumstances, including where you live in Queensland and any pregnancy complications. The initial choice between public and private models of care is further divided into options including birth centre care or shared care.
For a fuller understanding read:
- Choosing your model of care – a decision making aid for pregnant women choosing their maternity care
Last updated: 20 January 2016
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