Eating well - the importance of nutrition in pregnancy

A few years ago, we carried out a survey which found that the majority of pregnant women in the UK don’t know what they should eat and drink. Sixty per cent of women questioned said they were unsure what was safe to consume during pregnancy. So what should women eat when pregnant or breastfeeding? Can nutrition help with that feeling of being tired “all the time”?

Too many mums are confused about what they can eat! Our study, of 850 pregnant women and new mums, found that ten percent didn’t know whether they could drink any alcohol, while others were unsure whether cheese, shellfish, eggs, tuna, nuts or caffeine were safe. The confusion over nutrition may account for the fact that a whopping 95 percent were more tired than usual during their pregnancy; with over a third (34 per cent) saying they were tired all the time.

We work closely with mums everyday, so we knew they were feeling tired both before and after giving birth – but we were still surprised that as many as a third of pregnant women and a quarter of all mums with young children we surveyed said they were ‘tired all the time’.

We were also concerned that a third of mums said they ate less healthily after having their children – this is the time they most need good food to keep going!

We carried out this study as part of research to help us develop our new Mum’s Bar, a fruit and seed bar designed especially for mums. And not of all our research was worrying. Encouragingly, half of the woman questioned said they bought more organic foods when they became parents, and three in every four thought more about food and nutrition. Good nutrition is so important for pregnant women (and new mums) to give them the energy they and their growing baby need – and we believe that organic food is better for both of them! 

When you eat conventionally farmed food you have to think about what it could be passing on to your baby.

Things that are allowed in traditional food include: pesticides that have been shown to be toxic; food-nasties like sweeteners, monosodium glutamate and hydrogenated fat; genetically modified crops and ingredients; and antibiotics. Organic farming has none of these and only uses a very limited number of harmless pesticides. It also includes animal welfare standards which are recognised by Compassion in World Farming.

Eating organically produced food is always going to be better for you. Ideally, we’d say eat nothing else. But the reality is that it’s not always possible, especially if you’re on a budget. So try to buy as much fresh organic fruits and vegetables as you can and grow your own too.

When it comes to fish and meat, go for quality rather than quantity. Dairy products are always better if they’re organic and the Soil Association certificate on the packaging is a good indicator. If you can’t go organic, then look for fruit and vegetables with the LEAF logo on it. This means that it has been farmed using pesticides and antibiotics only where absolutely necessary. Also, try to buy local seasonal produce - even if it is not organic, it will always be better than food that’s been flown in from another place (and it will probably be more environmentally friendly too!).

And if you don’t believe me, a major European Union-funded study recently found that organic produce is better for you than ordinary food! The £12m four-year project, led by Newcastle University, found a general trend showing organic food contained more antioxidants and less fatty acids. And what’s better for you must be better for your baby!

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Organix make safe, pure and nutritious organic babyfood and children's food

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