You (and your baby) are what you eat

"This pregnancy, I want to learn to eat what's best for my baby and to feel good in myself, too."iStock_000008823210Medium.jpg

Healthy eating when you are pregnant is important—a balanced diet (plus a supplement that contains folate and iodine) is essential for good health, as well as for your growing baby. Early in pregnancy, the quality of your diet can influence how your baby's organs develop. Later in pregnancy, your diet influences baby's growth and brain development.

While women are good at putting their children's and partner's needs before their own, we need to remember that we can better care for our loved ones when we feel happy and healthy ourselves. A healthy lifestyle when pregnant can limit your chances of experiencing gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia or weight gain above healthy recommendations.

Nutrition services available at Mater Health and Wellness

Mater Health and Wellness acknowledge that just because you are pregnant, your busy life does not stop, but we also recognise that ongoing contact and support with an expert maternal health dietitian is the best way to achieve long lasting change.

Mater Health and Wellness run a nutrition program specially tailored for pregnant women. The Optimal Pregnancy Nutrition workshop, is facilitated by a Mater Mothers' Private Hospital dietitian and is best attended in early pregnancy (before 20 weeks), but will be of benefit at any time during pregnancy.

Following the workshop, you are welcome to visit a Mater dietitian regularly—we have 15, 30 and 60 minute appointments to support your ongoing lifestyle changes; please contact us to make an appointment.

Topics covered in the Optimal Pregnancy Nutrition workshop

If you attend this group (or attend an appointment with a Mater dietitian) we will provide you with the latest essential information you need for pregnancy. This will cover:

  • "Go for 2&5 versus Go for 4&5". We all know fruit and vegetables are important, but how do you measure up to the 'Go for 2&5 Guideline? Find out what you need from all of the food groups when preparing, as well as when you become pregnant.
  • Folate, iron, iodine and vitamin D—why are they so important?
  • Getting moving: Being active in your life has many benefits, beyond weight management.
  • The facts about mercury, caffeine and alcohol.
  • Tips for coping with morning sickness, constipation and heartburn.
  • Avoiding cold deli meats when pregnant—find out the details on Listeria.
  • Weight gain guidelines for pregnancy—how to have the healthiest pregnancy possible.

The Optimal Pregnancy Nutrition workshop was recently evaluated through a research trial at Mater Mothers' Hospital. It was found that women who attended the session managed to successfully change their daily routine, including their diet, and ate a more nutritious diet (in line with pregnancy recommendations), even if they didn't start that way.

Even though exercise and activity levels usually drop over pregnancy (no surprise there!), women who attended this group learnt and applied more strategies to keep doing exercises they liked during their whole pregnancy. This has great links with lower stress levels, more energy, better sleep, as well as less lower back pain, less nausea and less heartburn, all of which is good news in pregnancy.

Women who attended also told us they felt more confident at managing their weight gain when using Mater's personalised pregnancy Weight Tracker. Our workshop has a strong focus on offering supportive advice and tried-and-tested strategies to help women achieve healthy pregnancy weight gain (no matter what weight they are at the beginning of pregnancy).

Postnatal Programs

Mater Health and Wellness also offer a suite of Postnatal Programs to help you plan a new approach to a healthy lifestyle after pregnancy when you have competing demands, and ensure you are making good food choices that meet your needs and preferences—this could be adjusting to a new routine or balancing weight loss with your dietary needs at the time.

For further information or to make a booking for the Optimal Pregnancy Nutrition workshops please telephone the bookings coordinator on 07 3163 8847.

To make a booking or for further information for a Postnatal Programs please telephone Mater Health and Wellness on 07 3163 6000.

Non-insured women who are receiving care through Mater Mothers' Hospital (public patients) can attend a similar program called Healthy Start to Pregnancy workshop

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