Pregnancy: do’s & don’ts

If you do become pregnant during this programme, here are some top tips for a healthy pregnancy:


A daily supplement:

The current UK recommendations are that all women take:

  • 10µg vitamin D throughout pregnancy
  • 400µg folic acid from 3 months prior to conception up until at least the 12th week of pregnancy (until the end of the 1st trimester)


Staying physically active:

If you’ve been exercising regularly before you conceived you can carry on with the same routine, but be mindful not to do contact sports and don’t lie on your back for long periods of time. (Women who are pregnant are also advised not to scuba dive and not to exercise above 2,500m – a little niche perhaps, but just in case!)

Throughout pregnancy, aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate intense activity on 5 or more days per week. This could be brisk walking, swimming or cycling. If you are attending a gym class do let the instructor know before the class starts that you are pregnant as they may adapt a few of the exercises for you.

It may also be an opportunity to try new exercises, such as yoga or pilates, you may be able to find classes locally to you which are specific for pregnant women.


A healthy weight gain:

During pregnancy depends on your pre-pregnancy weight and height (BMI), there are guidelines for weight gain. Expect to gain only 1-4 pounds (0.5-2kg) in the 1st trimester and the rest over the 2nd and 3rd trimesters. Once you conceive speak to your GP or midwife about recommended weight gain.


Go for nutritious foods rather than extra portions:

A common misconception in pregnancy is that you are now eating for two, however, you’ll only need extra energy (of around 200kcal/day) during the last trimester. If you are hungry aim for healthy snacks such as: fruit, nuts or raw vegetables.

  • Healthy snacks could be:
  • A piece of fruit (banana, apple, orange)
  • Some dried fruit ( apricots or prunes)
  • Some raw vegetables (carrot sticks, celery)
  • A handful of nuts
  • If you are out and about and you are struggling to find a healthy snack try to stay away from the chocolate and sweat aisle and instead go for a small packet of nuts.


Balance your diet:  

This is similar to the advice we recommended during pre-conception, base each meal on wholegrain starchy foods such as bread, rice, potatoes, pasta or breakfast cereals and include:

  • servings of milk, cheese (pasteurised cheese only from the list below) or yogurt each day as these are great sources of calcium and iodine.
  • At least 5 portions of vegetables and fruit each day. This can include fresh, canned or dried
  • Try to eat meat, fish, eggs, nuts or pulses at 2-3 meals each day for iron


Eat fish twice a week:

with one or two servings as oily fish for omega 3 fats – if you don’t eat fish take a daily supplement of 200mg DHA but avoid fish liver oil supplements as these contain high doses of vitamin A.


Staying hydrated:

(1½ – 2 litres) per day for good hydration – water is a good choice. Limit caffeine to 200mg per day (about 1 shot of espresso or 2 mugs of instant coffee or 2½ mugs of tea)


Food safety:

Thoroughly cook meat, fish and eggs; wash all soil from vegetables and fruit and avoid vitamin A supplements, liver, liver pate, unpasteurised dairy products, soft and blue cheeses, swordfish, marlin and shark and  limit tinned tuna to 4 small servings per week.


On a more positive note…

You can eat:

  • Cooked shellfish, including prawns
  • Live or bio yogurt incl. probiotic drinks
  • Fromage frais
  • Crème fraîche
  • Soured cream
  • Spicy food
  • Mayonnaise, ice cream and salad dressing made with pasteurised egg. Homemade versions may contain raw eggs and must be avoided
  • Honey may be eaten during pregnancy, but is not suitable for infants under 12 months of age

Pasteurised cheeses which you can eat:

  • Hard cheese, such as cheddar and parmesan
  • Feta
  • Ricotta
  • Mascarpone
  • Cream cheese
  • Mozzarella
  • Cottage cheese
  • Paneer
  • Halloumi
  • Processed cheese, such as cheese spreads