Angelique Panagos is a nutritional therapist who works closely with her colleagues in South Molton Street, Mayfair, W1K 5SL to provide clients with a truly holistic approach to lifestyle and health. Neighbourhood Midwives are delighted to welcome her as our guest writer to share her thoughts on nutrition in pregnancy.
After the initial elation of confirming a pregnancy, every new mum-to-be is soon being bombarded with a whole litany of do’s and don’ts about what they should and shouldn’t be eating. The foods eaten during pregnancy are the sole source of all the building blocks your baby needs to develop and grow. It is clearly vital that your diet is given some thought; here is your own pregnancy nutrition guide.
It’s all about laying the right foundations for the baby!
Foods to focus on
More than anything, a healthy pregnancy is about all the good foods that should be eaten:
- Enjoy good quality protein with every meal. Sources include fish, poultry, organic free-range eggs, beans, lentils, nuts & seeds and, in moderation, game and red meat.
- Aim for at least 5 (but ideally 10+) servings of colourful fruit and vegetables daily to boost your intake of key vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Smoothies are great! Try my Superfood green smoothie.
- Slowly sip plenty of water through the day to avoid constipation and dehydration. Simply fill a 1.5 litre bottle in the morning and make sure it’s finished by the end of the day.
- Include 2 portions of oily fish per week, e.g. salmon, sardines, herring and sea trout (any more is not recommended due to the risk of mercury and other contaminants), alongside fresh non-roasted nuts and seeds.
- Think variety! A good varied diet will help ensure you are consuming all the nutrients you need.
- Opting for wholegrain foods (oats, brown rice, buckwheat, rye, millet and quinoa) will maximise your intake of the essential nutrients and fibre needed for pregnancy.
- Buy organic wherever possible. This reduces levels of pesticides, herbicides and other toxic substances, and is often more nutrient dense.
- Any dairy or eggs should always be organic to avoid contamination from antibiotics, chemicals and other additives.
- Eat little and often and ensure a balance of protein and complex carbohydrates to maintain blood sugar levels.
Foods to avoid
- Avoid mould-ripened, unpasteurised and blue-veined cheeses (e.g. Brie, Camembert, Chevre, Taleggio, Roquefort and Stilton), as they can contain listeria bacteria.
- Liver and cod-liver oil contain high levels of vitamin A, which can be harmful to the foetus in large quantities.
- Meat-based pates and raw (or partially cooked) fish, meat and eggs, all of which may contain harmful bacteria.
- Ready-to-eat poultry and ready-to-eat bags of salad, as there is also a risk of listeria.
- Peanuts, especially if allergies are common within the family.
- While opinions differ on how much alcohol is safe during pregnancy, zero alcohol is safest. Alcohol is a toxin the growing baby just does not need.
- Tea, coffee and other caffeinated drinks, including Coca-Cola, should be reduced or completely eliminated. Caffeine enters the baby’s bloodstream and has the same stimulating effect as in adults.
- Keep saturated fats (dairy and meat products) to a minimum and avoid hydrogenated fats completely.
- Always avoid genetically modified foods.
What else to enjoy during pregnancy!
- Do continue to exercise. Yoga is great but remember to tell the instructor you are pregnant.
- Stress management and relaxation are particularly important – for you and baby!
- Keep your home and office stocked with plants (especially peace lilies and spider plants), which can help re-oxygenate the air and absorb any toxic materials.
And what to avoid!
- Mercury tooth fillings.
- Smoking and smoky environments.
- Exposure to potentially harmful chemicals. Consider switching to natural and organic toiletries.
Finally, remember to enjoy being pregnant – it really won’t be long before your bundle of joy arrives!!
Angelique Panagos – Dip ION, FdSc, mBANT, CNHC
“Angelique Panagos is a leading Nutritionist in London, thought-provoking speaker and food lover. She specialises in the management of stress, hormone balancing, pregnancy, fertility, digestive health and weight. Her philosophy is that food is healing and nourishing, affecting each cell in our body – impacting our lives, bodies, emotions, and even our thoughts. Her approach works to make people feel their best in a supportive yet inspiring way. www.angeliquepanagos.com”