Pregnant women, continued

Iron

Iron is required for the formation of red blood cells in the growing baby. It also allows iron stores to be laid down for the baby for the first six months of life.

B group vitamins

Folate is one of the most important vitamins during pregnancy. It is required for the normal growth and development of the foetus. It is also required to prevent neural tube defects.

Vitamin B12 is also very important, as the mother must consume enough for the foetus to store for the first six months of life.

Vitamin B1 is required to help the release of energy from food, important as a mother's energy requirements increase during pregnancy. This happens particularly during the last three months – also known as the last trimester.

Sodium

Intake should be limited to no more than 6g daily.

Too much sodium can increase the mother's blood pressure, which could be dangerous for her and her baby during the pregnancy.

Calcium

The mother still requires calcium to help maintain her bone mass and reduce her risk of osteoporosis. However requirements increase during the last three months of pregnancy as the baby's skeleton begins to develop.

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If the mother does not eat enough calcium rich foods to meet the demands of the growing foetus, calcium will begin to be taken from stores in her bones, thereby weakening them

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is vital for the absorption of calcium into bones and teeth. It is therefore very important during pregnancy to ensure that the foetus does not strip the mother of her store.

It is equally as important for the normal formation of the baby's skeleton.

Foods to avoid during pregnancy

During pregnancy there are some foods which could potentially cause harm to the development of the foetus. It is advised that women avoid these foods completely. Some examples are:

  • Pâté
  • Pre-packed salads
  • Cook-chill meats
  • Mould-ripened cheese