Is it teething time for your little one?
A healthy diet during pregnancy is essential as the food you eat provides the building blocks for strong, healthy baby. Despite claims that you're eating for two, you actually only need about 300 calories more per day for the next nine months.
 
Here are some top tips to ensure you're eating the right things, the right way, while pregnant.
 
Eating times and amounts
The easiest way to make sure you're getting all the calories you need is to eat five or six small meals a day. This is especially helpful if nausea, food aversions, heartburn or indigestion make eating a chore. Try to eat at least every four hours - even if you're not hungry, your developing baby needs regular sustenance. 
 
Importance of protein
Lean red meat, hard cheese, eggs, chicken and fish are all great sources of protein, which is essential for healthy development and cell growth. Remember to limit servings of fish to 1 portion a week and stick with oily fish like fresh tuna or salmon, as they are rich in omega 3, which is essential for your baby's brain development. Also keep in mind that a lunch of baked beans on wholemeal toast will give you all the essential amino acids (protein) as well as fibre and iron, so you don't always need to eat meat.
 
The right beverages
You should consider cutting back or skipping beverages containing caffeine, as drinking more than four cups of coffee a day has been linked to low birth weight and even stillbirth. Caffeine can be found in tea, soft drinks, cocoa and chocolate, switch to decaffeinated brews and drinks instead - or better still, replace them with milk, 100% fruit juice or water with a twist of lemon. 
 
All the right nutrients
Make sure you're consuming at least five portions of fruit and veg each day. Dark green vegetables, such as spinach and broccoli, are packed with essential vitamins and minerals, including folate which helps your baby's development. Dried fruit is easy to carry with you and is also a great source of fibre, calcium and iron. Start taking a prenatal vitamin-mineral supplement and make sure it contains 600 to 800 micrograms of folic acid. You may need to take iron or calcium supplements later on in your pregnancy if your GP recommends it. 

Weight watching
While you should watch what you eat, you shouldn't diet while pregnant. Many diet plans are more than likely to leave your body low on iron, folic acid, and other important vitamins and minerals. Weight gain is a positive sign of a healthy pregnancy, although the timing of the weight gain is just as important as the total number of pounds. The least amount of weight gain should occur during the first trimester, about two to five pounds in total. You should slowly and steadily gain ending with the greatest number of pounds, approximately a pound a week, in the third trimester.

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