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Your Healthy Pregnancy brochure

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Publication date: 
24 May 2021
Last updated: 
31 August 2021
Publication type: 
Brochure
Intended audience: 
General public

Your Healthy Pregnancy

Eating well and staying active in pregnancy for the health of you and your baby.

Three steps to a healthier pregnancy and bub

  • Nutrition
  • Physical activity
  • Wellbeing

Vital steps you can take to keep yourself and your baby healthy

  • Eat nutritious food to help your baby develop.
  • Stay active to prepare your body for labour and recovery.
  • Reach out if you need support.

Eat for you, not for two

  • Eating for two in pregnancy is a myth.
  • In the 2nd and 3rd trimesters you may need some extra food to provide nutrients for the growth of your baby.
  • Eating a little more vegetables, lean protein and wholegrains each day is all you’ll need.
  • For example, 1.5 wholegrain sandwiches with salad and protein (such as a hard-boiled egg).

Power foods for pregnancy

  • Iodine: brain development
  • Folic acid: blood formation and cell building
  • Vitamin D: calcium and absorption and bone health
  • Iron: brain development and energy levels
  • Calcium: bone development
  • Vitamin B12: nerve and brain development
  • Protein: blood supply and tissue growth

There is no need to avoid certain foods to prevent your baby developing allergies. It is OK to eat peanuts, eggs, dairy etc. (unless you have an allergy).

Vegetarian or vegan?

You can replace meat or animal products with lentils, beans, tofu and soy milk. Talk to your health professional about whether you need supplements to ensure you get the right nutrients for your baby’s development.

Foods to avoid

  • Deli meats, soft cheeses, pâté and soft-serve ice cream – may contain listeria, a harmful bacteria.
  • Raw or undercooked meats – can give you an infection called toxoplasmosis.
  • Raw or undercooked eggs – can cause salmonella food poisoning.
  • Smoked salmon, uncooked seafood, precooked prawns and sushi – may contain listeria (listeria, toxoplasmosis and salmonella are rare but can cause serious complications in pregnancy).
  • Don’t drink alcohol
  • Limit large fish like shark, marlin and swordfish – they contain mercury that can affect your baby’s brain and nervous system development
  • Limit caffeine – 1 to 2 cups of coffee or 4 cups of tea per day. Avoid double shot espresso and caffeinated energy drinks.
  • Limit high fat and sugary foods and drinks
  • Eat freshly prepared salads, because pre-cut fruit and vegetables which have been prepared and displayed in advance may contain listeria.

Physical activity

Aim for 30 to 60 minutes most days. Start slowly and gradually increase the amount of physical activity you do. Aim to make your heart beat faster. Listen to your body and drink plenty of water.

The benefits of physical activity

  • Reduces risk of complications.
  • Helps prepare you for labour and recovery.
  • Can help nausea, heartburn and constipation.

Give these activities a go (or similar activities if you have physical limitations)

  • Brisk walking
  • Light resistance
  • Pilates/yoga
  • Swimming

Give these activities a miss

  • Activities with limited oxygen like scuba diving – low oxygen can harm your unborn baby
  • High impact or contact sports like netball/football – risk of injury to abdomen
  • In your second or third trimester? Avoid lying on your back for a long time. It can reduce blood flow to your baby and your heart.

Wellbeing

Everybody responds differently to changes during pregnancy. Changes in blood pressure, blood sugar and hormone levels can make you feel more tired. Getting enough sleep is important for your physical and mental health.

Some days you may feel full of energy, some days you might feel a bit low. When having a low day, take care of yourself go for a short walk or catch up with a friend.

If you’re feeling low for more than a few days, talk to your health professional.

Partners and support networks

Support comes in all forms – partners, family, friends, neighbours and health care professionals.

Your support network can help you with:

  • transport to appointments household tasks
  • preparing healthy meals babysitting
  • staying active and having fun.

For more information about healthy eating, physical activity and partner support during pregnancy visit health.gov.au/campaigns/your healthy pregnancy.

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