Diet & Nutrition

Pregnancy places added requirements on your body and is a time when special care should be paid to your diet. You will need to consume a variety of foods, in order to obtain all the nutrients you need.

You should eat fruit, salad and vegetables, preferably raw, on a daily basis to ensure you have sufficient vitamins and minerals and include carbohydrates, such as rice, pasta, bread or potatoes, with every meal.

It is better to have five small meals evenly spaced throughout the day as opposed to three larger ones.

Energy requirements Although energy intake does increase during pregnancy, the amount is often over estimated. During the first three months energy needs are only moderately higher and caloric requirements increase by 200-300 calories daily for the remainder of the pregnancy. The additional energy needs can be met by eating an extra serving, for example, a yogurt, a piece of fruit and two tablespoons of bran or oat flakes. It is best to increase your calories by trimester. Based on the estimate of 285 calories per day overall - this would equate to:

  • First Trimester - 85 extra calories
  • Second Trimester - 285 extra calories
  • Third Trimester - 475 extra calories

Weight gain
The mean weight gain during the 9 months of pregnancy is 12 kilograms. Moderate fat gain during pregnancy has an important role to play as it provides a buffer of energy stores that will be used during lactation after the birth.

Water
It is important to get enough fluid. Try to drink one and a half to two litres a day.

Protein
Protein is an essential building block for cells, muscles and organs. During pregnancy the required protein intake increases by approximately 10 grams per day (for example, 30 grams of hard cheese). Meat, fish, poultry, dairy products, eggs, legumes and tofu are all excellent sources of protein.

Fats
The recommended daily fat intake is between 60 and 80 grams, the majority of which should be made up of vegetable fats and oils. Grapeseed and olive oil are highly recommended. Be careful of hidden fats in sausages, sauces, pastries, fried foods, etc.

Carbohydrates
Although the requirement for carbohydrates increases only moderately during pregnancy, carbohydrates should account for some 50% to 55% of overall energy intake. Given the substantially higher vitamin and mineral requirements during pregnancy, whole-grain products are preferable. These are also an important source of indigestible fibre.