Diet and Nutrition

You need to eat a healthy diet while pregnant (once you are feeling better, if you suffer from morning sickness). The basis for this is fruit and vegetables, carbohydrates, fats and protein. If you have a diet high in fat and sugar then you will grow a bigger baby as well as increasing your risk of suffering from diabetes in pregnancy. Please read the pamphlet “Eating For Healthy Pregnant Woman”. Try to eat whole foods rather than processed foods.

Iron is important in pregnancy. Your baby will use the iron stored in your liver to make its own red blood cells. If you do not have enough iron stored, your bby will break down your red blood cells, give the iron from them to the baby and you will become anaemic. This is one of the things we look at in your blood tests. Meat, particularly red meat is a good source of iron but so also is tofu, kidney beans, wholemeal bread and dried apricots.

Supplements include: Chelated iron and Vitamin C, kelp, molasses and Floradix, Cell Salt Ferrum Phos.

Calcium is also important in pregnancy. Not only is it needed for growth and the development of baby’s bones and teeth, but is also involved in the electrical activity involved in muscle contraction e.g. moving out arms or legs. During pregnancy, your recommended daily requirements of calcium increase to 1100mg per day. Good sources of calcium include dairy products especially Calci-trim milk, yoghurt and cheese, also tofu, salmon, sardines, broccoli, multigrain bread, lentils and baked beans. About three servings a day of these foods is needed. If you are not able to get enough calcium from food and drinks, talk to your LMC about a calcium supplement. If you decide to take a supplement 60mg per day should be enough to make up any shortfall. Take the supplement in the evening and do not take with other supplements such as iron.

Supplements include: Kelp or Calcium / Magnesium tablets. Cell salt: Calc Fluor.

Listeria is a bacteria that can be transmitted in some foods. It is an uncommon infection that causes few symptoms in adults but which causes miscarriage, premature labour and still birth. Please read “Food safety in Pregnancy” booklet you will have been given for tips on good food handling techniques and how to avoid listeria.

Folic Acid 0.8mg is recommended from prior to becoming pregnant until 12 weeks gestation. It has been shown to reduce the incidence of spina bifida in babies.

Alcohol it is safest not to drink any alcohol while pregnant to prevent fetal alcohol syndrome.

Blood tests

Your LMC will ask you to have the routine antenatal blood tests taken. We test for the following:

•    Blood group – to establish what blood type you are e.g. O, A, B, AB.

•    Rhesus factor – to discover whether the Rh factor is present in your blood, i.e. to determine whether you are Rh positive or negative means your have no Rh factor in your blood.

•    Antibodies – to check whether you have any antibodies in your blood which may be harmful to your baby. This is more important if you are Rh negative.

•    Full Blood Count (FBC) – to check blood iron levels for anaemia.

•    Rubella (German Measles) – to check whether you are immune (have antibodies) to the virus. While immunity gained from having the disease confuers lifelong immunity, rubella vaccination provides immunity for varying periods of time in each individual. Therefore it is wise to have your rubella statue checked before each pregnancy.

•    Hepatitis B – to check if you have antibodies (immunity) to this virus.

•    VDRL – to check for veneral disease particulary syphilis.

•    HIV is not checked for routinely at this time but it is offered to you to have your status checked. There is now treatment available to markedly reduce the risk of HIV passing to the baby from its mother during pregnancy and birth.

Healthy Weight Gain in Pregnancy