Food for you who are pregnant

Information from National Food Agency, Sweden

During pregnancy many women start to think about their eating habits. Perhaps you do, too. Previously you have only needed to think about yourself. Now you have to consider the health of two people. This brochure gives you some simple advice about good eating habits – before as well as after your child is born.

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Food for you who are pregnant

What shall I eat?

In order for the child inside you to be able to grow and develop, you need more nutrition than usual. For example you need more vitamins and minerals, though not all too many more calories. The best way of getting sufficient nourishment is by means of good and nutritious food. Different kinds of food contain different nutrients – protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins and minerals. That is why it is good to have a varied diet.

Good to eat

  • 500 g fruit and vegetables every day, for example two portions of vegetables and three portions of fruit.
  • Fish 2–3 times a week. See which fishes you can eat in our food guide.
  • Skimmed milk, natural skimmed sour milk and natural low-fat yoghurt, about half a litre a day.
  • Low-fat margarine on your sandwiches and liquid margarine or oil for cooking purposes.
  • Meat, chicken, eggs, beans, lentils or peas every day.
  • Bread and potatoes, rice, pasta, bulgur wheat or similar every day – preferably a whole grain alternative.

Drink water with your meals and when you are thirsty.

How much should I eat?

When you are pregnant you need more nutrition than normal, but not so many more calories.

On the average this is how much extra food is needed per day:

  • Months 1–3: 1 portion of fruit
  • Months 4–6: 1 filling snack and 1 portion of fruit
  • Months 7–9: 2 filling snacks and 1 portion of fruit

In order not to put on too much weight, but still get enough nutrition, it is important to eat good and nutritious food. Cut down on soft drinks, sweets, ice-cream, cakes and treats. They give neither you nor the child any nutrition but only add unnecessary calories. The longing for sweet things, the tiredness and nausea are often reduced if you eat regularly – eat breakfast, lunch and dinner and something between meals. Your body profits from routines and it will be easier to eat the appropriate amounts.

How much weight should I put on?

An adequate weight gain is important both for the child and for your health. A healthy weight increase reduces the risk of pregnancy related diabetes and high blood pressure. The delivery can also be easier if you do not put on too much weight. How much is the right amount depends on how much you weighed before the pregnancy. Consult your midwife regarding what is right for you. You should not try to diet when you are pregnant. It is important for you to eat good and nutritious food, cut down on unnecessary calories and take exercise – preferably 30 minutes every day.

The keyhole – quick guide to good food habits

If you want to find healthier food in an easy way then the keyhole symbol can help you - both when you are shopping and when you eat out. Keyhole-labelled food contains less and healthier fat, less sugar and salt and more fibre than other foods of the same type. Fruit, vegetables, meat and fish can be keyhole-labelled. Low-fat charcuterie and dairy products can also carry the keyhole symbol, as can high-fibre bread, cereals and pasta.

Swedish Food Agency

Source: Swedish Food Agency