For preconception, pregnancy and post natal care call Christine at Restore Nutrition to discuss a personalized nutrition program or book online.
Research indicates that pregnancy is a time when there is a greater requirement for certain nutrients. Your nutritionist can provide diet and lifestyle advice that may assist in the improvement of the mother’s nutritional status and also recommend appropriate high quality supplementation to support conception, pregnancy and lactation.
Recent research on the benefits of supplementation and a healthy diet during pregnancy
Omega – 3
An adequate level of Omega -3 during pregnancy and lactation has been associated with a reduced risk of the baby developing a food allergy (specifically egg) or eczema during the first year of life.
To maintain adequate Omega – 3 levels, 2- 3 serves of lean fish per week are recommended. It would be best to avoid catfish, sea perch, swordfish, marlin, shark, canned tuna, crustaceans and large fish to reduce the exposure of the fetus to mercury contaminated fish. Australian recommendations for fish consumption advise that fish consumption should be limited to only one serve per week if sea perch or catfish are consumed and one serve per fortnight if shark, swordfish, broadbill or marlin are consumed.
Fish oil supplementation is a safe alternative to eating fish and will provide the important Omega -3 fatty acids of EPA and DHA during pregnancy.
Fish oil that is high in DHA is recommended during pregnancy as the fetus has high requirements at this time. Typically an Australian mother’s intake of DHA is 15mg a day and the fetus requires 67mg per day. DHA is essential for fetal development and has been found to improve hand-eye co-ordination in toddlers. The fetus will automatically use the mother’s stores if not enough is consumed during pregnancy. A deficiency in DHA may put the mother at a higher risk of postpartum depression.
Probiotic supplementation is recommended during pregnancy and for at least 3 months post-natally while breastfeeding. The use of the probiotic Lactobacillus Rhamnosus GG (LGG) has been found to reduce the risk of the infant developing atopic diseases such as Eczema during the first 2 years of life.
LGG and dietary counseling before and during pregnancy may reduce the incidence of gestational diabetes
The current guideline for iron supplementation during pregnancy is if iron levels fall between 30-70 ug/l. Iron rich foods include lean red meat, chicken, lamb, veal. Vegetarian iron can be found in: spinach, watercress, basil, silverbeet, coriander, parsley, tahini, tempeh and tofu.
Fruit and vegetables
A maternal diet high in fruit and vegetables and low in refined and sugary foods may reduce the occurrence of infantile eczema and also reduce the risk for early onset diabetes.
A poor maternal diet may increase fat storage, insulin resistance and the development of type 2 diabetes in the resulting offspring.
Women who are overweight or have a high cholesterol levels before pregnancy are at increased risk of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus
Moderate prenatal exposure to alcohol has been associated with lower sperm concentrations. Baby boys exposed to >4.5 drinks per week in utero had approximately one-third lower sperm count than baby boys exposed to one drink per week.
Regular exercise pre pregnancy reduces the risk of Gestational Diabetes by 66%.