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Origins' advice for a healthy, happy pregnancy

CollapseWhat should I be eating?

Eating for two doesn't mean eating twice as much! Energy needs in pregnancy are only up by 10%, so the catchphrase should really be “eat for 1.1”! What’s important is that you get enough of the right things. Here's our interpretation of the Ministry of Health's recommended eating plan for pregnancy:

  • Eat at least six servings of fruit and vegetables every day, including at least four servings of vegetables
  • Eat at least six serves of bread, cereal, rice or pasta every day. Choose wholegrain whenever you can
  • Consume at least three serves of milk, cheese or yoghurt every day
  • Eat at least two serves of protein every day - lean meat, poultry, chicken, seafood, eggs, nuts, seeds or legumes
  • Try to include a source of omega-3 fatty acids in your daily eating. These 'good fats' are found in oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, kahawai, mussels, oysters and squid. Walnuts, flaxseed and chia seed are also good sources of omega-3 fatty acids
ExpandSupplements

Pregnant women should take folic acid tablets in early pregnancy to reduce the risk of certain birth defects (eg spina bifida). Ideally, folic acid should be taken one month prior to conception through to 12 weeks.

Iodine tablets should also be taken througout pregnancy and breastfeeding, as it has been found that modern diets in New Zealand tend to have relatively low levels of this vital mineral.

ExpandWhat should I be drinking?
  • Water or reduced-fat milk are the best choices in pregnancy
  • Caffeine consumption may affect your baby’s growth during pregnancy, so it’s a good idea to limit yourself to a maximum of three single espresso shots (or one double), or up to six cups of tea or instant coffee
ExpandIs any amount of alcohol OK?

The New Zealand Ministry of Health recommends complete abstinence. The consequences of drinking alcohol in pregnancy include the risk of miscarriage and stillbirth and the risk of a baby being born with a range of lifelong effects. Foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) is the term used to describe these effects.

Whether you drink alcohol or not is a personal decision. However, we recommend you keep these facts in mind:

  • All types of alcoholic beverages can be harmful during pregnancy
  • The risk to your baby is proportional to the amount of alcohol consumed
  • There is no safe time to drink alcohol during pregnancy: alcohol exposure can have consequences for the development of your baby at any stage of pregnancy
ExpandWhat sort of exercise is best?

Daily exercise is recommended for you and your baby. It helps to maintain circulation, overcome tiredness and keeps you fit for the birth. Physical exercise is also beneficial to your mental wellbeing. If you're accustomed to regular cardio or strength training, you can continue, within reason. However, pregnancy is not the time to begin a major quest for fitness.

These tips will help you to establish a safe exercise plan:

  • Don't suddenly increase the amount of exercise you usually do in a day
  • Reduce high impact activities, such as running, dancing and aerobic classes. Alternatives include power walking, swimming, stationary cycling and specialised antenatal exercise classes
  • Eliminate potentially risky activities, such as snow and water skiing, rock climbing, contact sports and scuba diving
  • Avoid elevating your body temperature too much while exercising
  • Avoid activities that require you to be flat on your back for more than five minutes. This decreases blood flow to the uterus
  • If you attend yoga or pilates classes, talk to your instructor about how the exercises can be adapted for pregnancy
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Start strengthening the muscles of your pelvic floor with pelvic floor exercises
  • If you're not sure about the safety of a specific activity, talk to your Origins obstetrician
  • Stop exercising immediately if you experience shortness of breath, dizziness, numbness, tingling, abdominal pain or vaginal bleeding
  • If it hurts, don't do it!
ExpandVaccinations: Influenza and whooping cough

Origins’ recommendation is in keeping with the Ministry of Health and Immunisation Advisory Centre: pregnant women are at particular risk of getting influenza virus and your newborn baby is at particular risk of whooping cough, both of which can cause major health concerns. Flu vaccine can and should be given during pregnancy at any time. Whooping cough vaccine (Boostrix) is recommended between 28 and 38 weeks (ideally 31-33 weeks).