Telethon Kids Institute-Joondalup Health Campus: What to eat and drink during pregnancy

Telethon Kids Institute-Joondalup Health Campus: What to eat and drink during pregnancy

THE Origins Project, a collaboration led by Telethon Kids Institute and the Joondalup Health Campus, is a long-term study into the health and development of 10,000 children expected to be born at the hospital over the next few years. Community News regularly features an Origins researcher. This week’s columnist is institute dietitian Sarah Whalan.

A HEALTHY and balanced diet is especially important if you’re pregnant or planning a pregnancy. Healthy eating ensures you and your baby receive the essential nutrients required for optimal growth and development.

You can achieve this by ensuring you eat a wide variety of nutritious foods and include adequate amounts of the main food groups (fruit and vegetables; breads and cereals; dairy; and lean meats, chicken and fish).

There’s no need to eat for two, as only a small amount of extra kilojoules (energy) is required, however, you do need to eat more variety.

Dietitian Sarah Whalan.

Pregnancy creates extra demand for several nutrients, including folic acid, iron and iodine.

In addition to a healthy diet, taking a multivitamin will ensure you are getting enough of the essential vitamins and minerals.

Throughout pregnancy the following should be avoided:

• Foods that may contain listeria, including soft white cheeses such as brie and feta, pate, oysters, pre-packed salads and soft serve ice cream.

• Raw eggs, which may contain salmonella. Smoothies, mayonnaise or desserts such as mousse may contain raw eggs.

• Large amounts of caffeine, which may make it difficult to become pregnant and may increase the risk of miscarriage or of having a baby with low birth weight.

• Alcohol.

It’s important to know that drinking alcohol while you are pregnant can be harmful to your baby. Alcohol consumption in pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth.

Babies born affected by alcohol are described as having foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). The safest option is to drink no alcohol at all.

On the food front, if you’re looking for quick, nutritious ideas for meals and snacks, try banana sandwiches, eggs or peanut butter on wholegrain toast, baked beans, tuna on salad or wholegrain toast, or a milkshake or fruit smoothie (without raw eggs).

For more information on the Origins Project and to find out how you can get involved, visit www.originsproject.|telethonkids.org.au.