When you are pregnant it is important to eat a balanced diet both for you and your growing baby.
You may want to eat more traditional foods, sometimes it can be hard to find what you want in Brisbane. Whatever your choice, remember:
You and your growing baby need extra nutrients. Steady weight gain during pregnancy is normal and important for the health of mother and baby. However, it is also important not to gain too much weight.
Choose foods high in iron, like lean red meat or tofu, avoid alcohol and raw eggs, and ensure you eat some hard cheese, yoghurt and milk (if you can tolerant it) to increase your calcium intake.
Some women we spoke to said when they are pregnant they try to cut down on sugar, junk food and coffee. Others drink more milk and water; this can be difficult if you have morning sickness.
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 is born
New mothers can be very busy looking after a baby and it can be hard to find time to look after yourself and the other members of your family.
At these times you may wish a family member from overseas could visit to help with the new baby but this may not always be possible. When it comes to preparing food, being tired and having limited time can make it a challenge to plan and cook healthy meals.
It may help to:
- Prepare meals ahead of time and freeze them for later
- Ask your partner or friends to cook a meal
- Talk with family and friends about traditional foods which are good for baby
- Remember to drink lots of water and try to eat healthy food: this is important especially if you are breast-feeding your baby.
What is healthy?
Understanding what is meant by a ‘healthy’ diet can be difficult. The Australian Dietary Guidelines suggest you:
Enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods from these five food groups every day:
- Plenty of vegetables of different types and colours, and legumes/beans
- Grain (cereal) foods, mostly wholegrain and/or high fibre varieties, such as breads, breakfast cereals, rice, pasta, noodles, polenta, couscous, oats, quinoa and barley
- Lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds, and legumes/beans
- Milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or their alternatives, mostly reduced fat and drink plenty of water
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.
Physical activity is important when you are pregnant and for new mums. Physical activity doesn’t need to be hard. It only needs to be regular for you to benefit.
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:
- 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 baby-sitting
- 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.
Physical activity can give you more energy and can make you feel more positive because it builds your muscle strength and stamina and improves your mood.
Ideally, you should aim for 30 minutes of ‘moderate intensity’ activity on most days of the week. You don’t have to do your 30 minutes all at once, but you should aim for at least 10 minutes at a time to really benefit.
Pelvic Floor exercises are important after both caesareans and vaginal births.
Last updated: 20 January 2016
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