Why a balanced diet is important
You are providing the nutrients your baby needs to grow and develop. The nutrients in a balanced diet help your baby develop healthy organs and a healthy birth weight – plus a strong defence system to protect against illness after birth. Your baby will be partly shielded even if your diet is lacking.
Good for you
You also need to eat well for your own sake. If your pregnancy diet does not provide enough nutrients for your baby, they will be drawn from your own body which could leave you deficient. Eating well may help you minimise minor problems such as constipation, fatigue and mood swings. It may also help aid your immune system and give you the energy and strength you need to get through labour.
Concerned about putting on weight?
Don’t be. Weight gain during pregnancy is normal, and your doctor will monitor you to make sure it’s on track. Depending on your pre-pregnancy weight, typically you would be expected to gain about 11.5 – 16 kg to sustain your pregnancy. To give you an idea: if you are an adult woman of healthy weight and average activity levels, you won’t need to change your eating habits during the first trimester however you need to consume an extra 1400kJ per day during your 2nd trimester and an additional 1900Kj/day during your third trimester.
Perhaps you’re concerned about the effect of dietary restrictions on your baby (vegetarian, vegan, dairy free, etc.) or you’d like some help to plan your diet. If so, consult your doctor or a qualified dietitian or nutritionist.