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‚ÄčEating well during pregnancy

A healthy diet is vital in pregnancy. Eating healthily will help your baby to develop and grow.

You should eat a variety of different foods daily and try to get all your vitamins and minerals from the food you eat rather than supplements, however, you will need to take Folic Acid as a supplement to make sure you get everything you need.

The foods you should be including in your diet are:

  • fruit and vegetables
  • rice, grains and pulses
  • dairy foods including hard cheese, yoghurt, milk or soya alternatives
  • starchy foods like pasta, potatoes bread and cereals
  • protein including beans, fish, eggs, meat (avoid liver), poultry and nuts

Eating for two

You'll definitely be hungrier in pregnancy but you don't need to "eat for two". Try to maintain a healthy balanced diet and include a wide range of healthy snacks to keep you going throughout the day. Some women prefer to eat several smaller meals throughout the day as their pregnancy progresses rather than three large meals.

Foods to avoid

There are some foods you should avoid in pregnancy as they may make you or your baby ill. These include:

  • some soft cheeses
  • raw or partially cooked eggs
  • pate
  • raw or undercooked meat
  • cold cured meats
  • liver
  • game
  • vitamin and fish oil supplements
  • some fish and shellfish
  • sushi (must be frozen first)
  • caffeine
  • herbal / green teas

You can find a full list of foods and extra information about foods to avoid in pregnancy on the NHS website.

Get help to stop smoking during pregnancy

Giving up smoking as soon as you find out your pregnant is one of the best things you can do to protect your unborn baby from the very harmful effects of tobacco.

Cigarettes contain thousands of chemicals which can harm your baby and restrict their oxygen supply.

Benefits of giving up smoking in pregnancy

Giving up cigarettes will have a positive impact on your health during pregnancy and protect your baby.

It will also:

  • reduce the risk of complications in pregnancy and birth
  • give you a healthier pregnancy and a healthier baby
  • reduce the risk of stillbirth
  • reduce the risk of an early birth and your baby having additional breathing, feeding and health problems that often go with being premature
  • reduce the risk of your baby being born underweight: babies of women who smoke are, on average, 200g (about 8oz) lighter than other babies, which can cause problems during and after labour, for example they are more likely to have a problem keeping warm and are more prone to infection 
  • reduce the risk of cot death, also known as sudden infant death syndrome

How we can help you to quit

If you are struggling to give up smoking you should:

  • speak to your GP
  • speak to your midwife
  • contact our Help2Quit stop smoking service

Our Help2Quit stop smoking service can offer resources to help you quit including Nicotine Replacement Therapies and give you advice and guidance on dealing with withdrawal and coping with cravings.

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