The World Health Organisation recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life. Unnecessary introduction of bottle feeding or other food and drinks will have a negative impact on breastfeeding. After six months of age, infants should receive age appropriate foods while breastfeeding continues for up to two years of age or beyond. Consult your doctor before deciding to use infant formula or if you have difficulty breastfeeding.
Below is a table which shows recommended weight gains during the pregnancy. 3, 4
Keep in mind that the weight you gain has an immediate and future impact on your health, as well your little one’s. 4
There’s no secret formula, or any single food that can offer you all nutrients. 5, 6 Your meals must be varied and well-balanced, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meat and foods with less fat. 5, 6 It’s essential that your meals contain food from all food groups that provide you the highest quality nutrients.
Eating for two does not mean eating a lot more than you did before. 3, 6 While the increased energy (calorie) requirement is attributed to your changing body to support the pregnancy and the nutritional needs of your growing little one, an excess in calories can lead to gaining too much weight which can increase your risk for gestational diabetes. For most normal-weight pregnant women, the number of calories needed per day per trimester is as follows: 7
To help you decide what and how much to put on your plate, you may use the following plate illustration as a guide. In addition to a well-portioned meal, include regular physical activity to maintain a healthy weight. 8
Carbohydrates are the main sources of energy for you and your little one. However, if consumed in excess, it will put you at risk of gaining too much weight and possibly risk of developing gestational diabetes. Of all the nutrients, carbohydrates particularly simple carbohydrates like refined sugars have the most immediate impact on blood glucose level. When digested, carbohydrates are broken down into smaller glucose units which are absorbed in the bloodstream. 9 Therefore, the type and amount of carbohydrate including presence of other substances such as fibre (also known as complex carbohydrates) can impact the rate of absorption of glucose by the body. 10, 11
1. American Diabetes Association. Prenatal care for women with diabetes. Available at: http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/pregnancy/prenatal-care.html. Accessed June 16, 2016.
2. Mayo Clinic. Pregnancy diet: focus on these essential nutrients. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/pregnancy-nutrition/art-20045082. Accessed July 16, 2016.
3. American Diabetes Association. Diabetes meal plans and a healthy diet. Available at: http://diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/planning-meals/diabetes-meal-plans-and-a-healthy-diet.html. Accessed July 16, 2016.
4. MedlinePlus. Eating right during pregnancy. Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000584.htm. Accessed July 16, 2016.
5. Diabetes.co.uk. Simple vs complex carbs. Available at: http://www.diabetes.co.uk/nutrition/simple-carbs-vs-complex-carbs.html. Accessed July 16, 2016.
6. NutritionMD. Making sense of foods. Available at: http://www.nutritionmd.org/nutrition_tips/nutrition_tips_understand_foods/carbs_versus.html. Accessed July 16, 2016.