Pregnancy can be an overwhelming time, especially when it comes to understanding what you can and can’t eat. It can feel like information overload as you navigate this incredible journey, and many find it difficult to access credible advice easily.
Most of the information available for aspiring or current mums is focused on what you can’t eat, and while important to be aware of, this approach to pregnancy nutrition can lead to a restrictive mindset. Instead, women should be armed with information on what they can and should be eating.
According to the Pregnancy Nutrition Survey commissioned by Elevit, only a quarter of current or aspiring mums are consuming specific nutrition important for a healthy pregnancy and almost half of all women actively trying to conceive shared that they don’t understand what to eat to access the nutrients they need for a healthy pregnancy. This echoes conversations I have had with women who come to me desperate for guidance.
I’ve seen first-hand that this lack of knowledge has led to some women being overly cautious about their food choices, resulting in diets that might unintentionally deprive their bodies of essential nutrients. This includes adhering to trendy diets such as intermittent fasting, keto, and dairy-free which are often not appropriate while pregnant.
As a paediatric nutritionist, I always encourage people to focus on foods that fill nutritional gaps. A well-balanced diet rich in essential nutrients can positively influence reproductive health and increase the chances of a healthy conception. By focusing on nourishing the body even before getting pregnant, women can create an environment that supports a successful pregnancy journey.
During pregnancy you’ll often hear the saying “I am eating for two”, and in a way that is true as nutritional requirements change. As nutritional requirements increase, understanding how to achieve the recommended nutritional requirements can often be challenging.
To help ease the mental load around pre-conception and pregnancy nutrition, I have created ‘The Pre-conception & First 1000 Days Nutrition Pack’ in partnership with Elevit. This resource pack includes a variety of tools for aspiring and current mums, including four delicious recipes (which you don’t have to be pregnant for to enjoy), a nutrition table and a handy meal planner to make pregnancy nutrition more accessible for all.
The recipes, which include cheesy cauliflower pizza and dark chocolate bliss balls, are not only delicious but have been designed with optimal nutrition in mind. When thinking ahead to plan your weekly shop, I would encourage women to use the nutrition table and meal planner which allow you to optimise your nutrition and take the stress out of deciding what to eat.
I understand that life can be busy for parents, and personal and family commitments as well as increased nutritional needs during pregnancy can make accessing the right food challenging. Where optimal nutrition cannot be sourced solely from food, pre-conception and pregnancy multivitamins have an important role to play for supporting Australians looking to conceive and throughout their pregnancy.