All foods contain different nutrients in varying amounts. By eating a balanced diet you’ll have a larger chance that your body receives enough of all necessary nutrients. Eating from all food groups in the “Disk of Five” is a healthy base. This means: sufficient portions of bread, potatoes, rice, pasta, legumes, vegetables, fruits and fish twice per week. This is supplemented with dairy and meat, eggs or vegetarian options and margarine or oils. Sufficient hydration is also important.
Furthermore there are several important points of lifestyle advice:
• It is advised to take folic acid supplements daily even before pregnancy. This reduces the risk of spina bifida/open back for the baby. The recommended amount is 0.5 mg per day. You can also buy a vitamin set for pregnant women which always contains folic acid. Vitamins can be found at standard drugstores.
• It is wise to stop smoking as of the moment that you want to become pregnant. This also counts for your partner. Smoking has a negative effect on fertility but it can also cause complications during pregnancy.
• Avoid the use of alcohol. Research shows that not a single amount of alcohol is safe before or during pregnancy. The abstinence of alcohol improves the chances of a healthy pregnancy and child.
• Don’t eat raw meat such as filet americain. Meat should be cooked well-done. Raw meat can contain a parasite called toxoplasmose, which could potentially harm a pregnancy.
• It is advised to use gloves if you’re planning to work in the garden or clean the cat’s litterbox. Cat’s stool can contain the same parasite as raw meat.
• Do not drink raw milk and do not eat cheese made of raw milk. The packaging of a raw-milk cheese generally reads “au lait cru”. Most supermarkets have cheeses made of pasteurised milk, however you should still check the label.
• Refrain from eating liver and liver products. These contain a large amount of vitamin A and can possibly harm your baby.
• Due to chance of listeria bacteria, refrain from eating raw or pre-packaged fish. This bacteria can also cause some harm. Preferably eat fresh, cooked fish.
• Wash your fruits and vegetables thoroughly.