During pregnancy, healthy food is very important. It not only ensures that you feel fit and experience few physical symptoms, but it also ensures that your baby grows and develops properly.
What exactly is healthy food?
While pregnant, it is extremely important that you have a healthy and varied diet. The Voedingscentrum (Nutrition Centre) recommends the ‘Schijf van Vijf’ (Wheel of Five). Sufficient proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals are important for the development and growth of your baby. Read here for tips on how to get enough nutrients when you are pregnant.
Eat fish twice a week
Make sure that you have a sufficient supply of fish. Fish contains fatty acids that help your baby’s brain and eyesight to develop properly. The Nutrition Centre recommends eating fish twice a week, once a week fatty fish such as salmon or trout and once a week lean fish such as tilapia or plaice. Some types of fish can be harmful to your baby’s health. You can find more about this at the bottom of this page. If you can’t manage to eat fish twice a week, take an omega-3 fatty acid supplement with 250-450 mg of DHA throughout your pregnancy.
Folic acid and vitamin D
It is important to take 400 micrograms of folic acid every day from the time you want to become pregnant until 10 weeks of pregnancy. This reduces the risk of neural tube defects, such as spina bifida, cleft skull or cleft lip. Folic acid is available without a prescription at the drugstore or pharmacy.
Vitamin D is needed to properly absorb calcium from food. Calcium helps to build strong bones, which is especially important for you and your baby during pregnancy. For that reason, The Health Council advises pregnant women to take 10 micrograms of extra vitamin D. Vitamin D is also available without a prescription at the drugstore or pharmacy.
If you use a pregnancy multivitamin, you do not need to take extra folic acid and vitamin D because it already contains the right amount.
In addition to folic acid and vitamin D, it is important to make sure you get enough calcium, iodine and iron. Why this is important and what foods contain it, you can read here. You can also learn more about iron on our blog (link).
What foods should you avoid during pregnancy?
There are a number of products that can be harmful to your baby’s health. It is wise to avoid these products:
- Raw products such as meat, fish and eggs
- Soft cheese made from raw milk
- No more than 2 cups of coffee per day
- Certain herbal teas, such as fennel tea, aniseed tea, and cinnamon tea
For the complete list, go to the website of Het Voedingscentrum or download the app ZwangerHap!
Don’t eat for two
It is not necessary to eat for two. This will prevent you from gaining too much weight. Depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy, 70 to 300 extra kcal per day is enough. This amounts to an extra slice of bread, a bowl of yoghurt or some more meat, fish, or meat substitute. If you have a BMI between 18.5 and 25, it is normal to gain between 12 and 16 kg during pregnancy. A pregnant woman who is underweight or overweight will receive different advice from us. Losing weight during pregnancy is not recommended, partially because the waste products can be harmful, but also because you want to avoid a nutrient deficiency during pregnancy.
Do you have concerns about your weight gain, or do you have any other specific questions about your diet? We work together with dietician Nienke Kreté-Tolhuijs, who will be happy to help you!