Nutrition for Mums

Maternity Care

HIF Australia

Confused about what to eat and what not to eat when you're pregnant? HIF member, blogger and Australia's leading dietician, Susie Burrell chats to Everyday Health TV about how to control those pesky cravings and explains why a healthy diet is so important during pregnancy.

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Tiffany Cherry: Nutrition and expectant Mums, it’s something that can be lost in the whole enormity of the pregnancy, especially for first-time mums and Casey you caught up with a dietician to get a better insight into this.

Casey Beros: Yeah, that’s right Tiff. I learnt a lot about how to eat and how not to eat when we’re pregnant, as well as what to do about those pesky cravings.

Casey Beros: Susie Burrell is one of Australia’s leading dieticians and also recently a fantastic grower of babies. Susie what’s so important for diet and pregnancy and how does diet affect pregnancy?

Susie Burrell: Well the first thing is, it’s a common misconception that’s not about eating for two. Definitely in the second and third trimesters, you need some more calories, between 300 and 500 extra but you don’t need to eat unlimited just because you’re having a baby. More importantly is the nutrients that we’re focusing on, so of course in the early stages of pregnancy – the first 28 weeks, foliate is an exceptionally important nutrient and that’s found in leafy green vegetables, fruits and fortified breads and cereals. Then our iron becomes extremely important, you need to have lean red meat at least three to four times each week. Our omega-3 fats, very important for fetal brain development, so our oily fish, also iodine is very important for thyroid function and you find iodine in seafood so the varieties of fish that are safe to consume during pregnancy. And of course we’ve got our calcium, so ideally pregnant women are consuming three to four serves of calcium-rich food, particularly dairy every day when they’re pregnant.

Casey Beros: Ok, and what can people do to manage their cravings, if they’ve got cravings during pregnancy?

Susie Burrell: Well, the key thing to remember with cravings is the more you feed the craving, the worse it will be. If you’re craving sweet food and you keep eating sweet food, it won’t relieve it instead try and buffer it with something that will change the taste palette of your mouth. So for example if you’re craving ice-cream or if you’re craving chocolate, perhaps have a small amount, not the entire tub or the entire block, but then follow that with something salty like cheese and that will help to neautralise that craving and let you get control over it.

Casey Beros: And what about nausea and morning sickness?

Susie Burrell: Now it’s commonly thought that not eating will help, but the truth is low blood glucose levels make those feelings of morning sickness much worse. So even if you can only stomach a couple of crackers, eating regularly is the key. Soda water can be very helpful as can ginger and herbal teas tend to be things that people can tolerate and just give you something to have regularly to keep the feelings of sickness at bay.

Casey Beros: We know that you’re an HIF member and you used your private health insurance when you had Harry and Gus recently for maternity. What’s so important about having private health insurance when you want to have a baby in the future?

Susie Burrell: Well for me, it was all about peace of mind, it was knowing that you would have a stay for what you needed, that both of the babies would be well looked after and no matter what happened in that circumstance, that you don’t have very much control over that I would be looked after in a good hospital and have the doctor that I wanted to look after me, and if anything was to go wrong I would be a good system to be taken care of. So for me, it was absolutely peace of mind that things went perfectly, so I’m very lucky.

Casey Beros: Susie, what’s the best thing about being a new mum?

Susie Burrell: I think the best thing about being a new mum of twins is that it’s given my life a real sense of meaning and it sounds cliché but it’s really nice to come home away from all the buzz of work and focus on family and what’s important and just giving that quality time without phones and distractions to concentrate on two little beings is very special.  



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