Richmond Practice - Diet, exercise and lifestyle

Diet, exercise and lifestyle
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How much should I eat during pregnancy?

Pregnancy is a time when you need take care of your health. You can achieve it with eating a well balanced diet and staying fit.

A well balanced diet ensures good health for you and your baby. Pregnancy is not the time to start a drastic diet but also not the time to put on too much weight. On average, women put on 10-12.5 kg (22-28 lb) over the whole of their pregnancy.
  • Try to have at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day; favour wholegrain versions of starchy foods; have enough protein, as well as milk and dairy products.
  • Take at least 400 micrograms of folic acid a day while you're trying to get pregnant, and during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Folic acid reduces the risk of your baby having a neural tube defect, such as spina bifida.
  • Don't worry if you get pregnant unexpectedly and weren't taking folic acid supplements. Start taking them as soon as you find out and until you're past the 12th week of pregnancy.
  • Avoid alcohol as it can seriously harm your baby's development.
  • Decrease your caffeine intake to less than 200mg a day.
  • Eat safely as bacterial infections such as listeriosis, salmonella and toxoplasmosis can be dangerous for pregnant women and their unborn babies.
  • Ensure good hand hygiene; washing and cooking meat, fish, fruit, vegetables and eggs thoroughly; heating ready meals until they are piping hot.
Because your body is going through changes, don't hesitate to ask your GP or gynaecologist any questions regarding what you should eat or should avoid during pregnancy.

Staying active
Keeping fit may help you to adapt to pregnancy easier than someone who is out of shape. Exercise improves muscle tone, strength, and endurance. In turn, this will:
Before starting any exercise programme, make sure you follow safety guidelines now that you're pregnant and ask your GP or gynaecologist for advice.

Consult your doctor if:
  • you are not sure if certain food or exercise is good for you during pregnancy
  • you are gaining more weight than recommended
  • you have any questions regarding your lifestyle.
At Elsbeth's Doctors our midwife, as well as our gynaecologists and GPs, can offer information and practical help on diet and lifestyle.