Pregnancy's an exciting time, but it can also be daunting.
For the next nine months, you have a whole new focus, so now's a great time to consider the importance of your diet.
We're all told what to avoid while expecting - soft cheeses and alcohol in particular - but what should we favour?
In general, a healthy pregnancy diet is largely comparable to a healthy everyday diet, but there are a few things to bear in mind:
- Our bones and muscles all benefit from calcium. Eating dairy, such as natural yoghurt, is an excellent way to get more calcium into your diet, while tahini and broccoli are other good sources of calcium.
- A good supply of vitamins and minerals is extra important during pregnancy, so be sure to include lots of fresh fruit and vegetables.
- Try to eat some protein every day, whether in the form of lean meat, low-mercury fish, poultry, eggs, beans or nuts. Just be careful to cook your meat and eggs all the way through.
- A lot of mums aren't getting enough folate (vitamin B9) into their diet during , so look for folate-rich foods such as legumes, asparagus and leafy greens.
Not just nutrients
Most of the dietary advice for pregnant woman focuses on nutritional value, but there's another aspect to consider. It's the world inside your gut.
Your microbiome, the living ecosystem of friendly bacteria on and inside your body, influences your overall health, interacting with your immune and digestive systems, and helping to maintain your general health and wellbeing.
So, what's the secret to a healthy microbiome?
Well, there is none, but the first step to supporting it is a fresh, balanced diet full of prebiotic fibre. Prebiotic fibre passes undigested into the gut, providing fuel for the microbiome and promoting bacterial diversity. You'll find fibre in cereals, fruits and dark-coloured vegetables.
Give your microbiome an extra helping hand with fermented, bacteria-rich foods, such as organic yoghurt and kimchi.
You can further support your microbiome with probiotic supplements. Probiotics contain living bacteria to encourage and maintain gut diversity.
Life-Space Pregnancy Probiotic contains 15 strains of beneficial bacteria and is formulated to support a healthy microbiome and general health and wellbeing.
Specially formulated for mums-to-be, Life-Space Pregnancy Probiotic supports immune and digestive health, balances healthy vaginal flora, and assists in maintaining healthy digestive flora following the use of antibiotics.
Another feature is that is contains Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001, which may help reduce the risk of eczema in young children with a family history when taken during pregnancy, breastfeeding and in the first two years of life.
Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. Supplements should not replace a balanced diet.