Dr Rahul Sen | Specialist care for birth and beyond | Sydney, Australia

Rooms : Edgecliff 02 9363 9474
Macquarie Street 02 9221 2600

Pregnancy Nutrition

Overview of Pregnancy Nutrition by Natasha Leader

Healthy Eating for pregnancy

Pregnancy is a time when almost all of you will think more about what you are eating.  Many of you will wonder what is best for your baby and make changes to the types of food you eat. There are many aspects of diet that need consideration during pregnancy – and I just touch on a few of the most important here.

It’s quality not quantity

You do need to eat extra when you are pregnant, but the amount of extra energy (kilojoules/calories) each day is quite small i.e. equivalent to a couple of slices of bread and a glass of low fat milk only!  What you do need more of are nutrients – more B vitamins, folate, vitamin C, iron, protein among others, so it can take some planning to make sure that almost everything you choose to eat is giving you something worthwhile.  Don’t worry – I did say almost everything!

One of the simplest ways of achieving this is by thinking about your diet in terms of food groups.  Our food groups exist because the foods within each group provide similar nutrients i.e. milk, cheese and yoghurt are all good providers of protein and calcium.  There are guidelines to help you to choose the right number of serves from these groups each day.

The benefit of this approach is also that it lets you keep track of your total intake as well as the balance in your diet.  It also can help draw your attention to the frequency of those ‘extra’ foods in your diet – the ones that don’t really fit into any of the groups very well.  It’s these ‘extras’ that can cause trouble!  High energy, low nutrition = not great for you or bub.

The following table provides a guide as to the amount of food you need for a healthy diet in pregnancy:


FOOD GROUP NUMBER OF SERVES NUTRIENTS
Breads and cereals
1 serve =
1 slice bread or
½ cup cereal or
½ cup cooked rice/pasta
At least 8.5 serves
(depends on activity level and appetite)
Carbohydrate
Fibre
Folate
Vitamin Bs
Magnesium
Iron
Zinc
Fruit
1 serve =
1 piece of fruit or
½ cup tinned fruit or
small handful dried fruit or
½ cup fruit juice
 2 serves Fibre
Vitamin C
Folate
Potassium
Vegetables
Fresh, frozen, canned, cooked
1 serve =
½ cup cooked vegies or
1 cup salad type vegies
5 serves Fibre
Folate
Potassium
Magnesium
Vitamins: A + C
Dairy
1 serve =
250ml milk or
Tub of yoghurt or
1 slice of cheese or
250ml soy milk (calcium fortified)
2.5 serves Protein
Calcium
Magnesium
Phosphorus
Vitamins D + A, B2, B12
Meat
1 serve =
65-80g cooked meat/chicken or
100g fish
2 eggs or
1 cup legumes or
30g cup nuts
3.5 serves Protein
Iron
Zinc
Omega 3
B vitamins
Iodine

For more information on pregnancy nutrition, please discuss it with Natasha or Dr Rahul Sen.