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What should I be eating during pregnancy? 

What to eat while pregnant? I remember freaking myself out totally in early pregnancy about what I could or couldn't eat, fervently checking labels to see if my cheese was pasturised or not... And deliberating heavily whether I could eat calamari in a fish restaurant in Spain (I did, and enjoyed it!). Now I feel some of these "rules" can be a bit overkill, however that's a rant for another day. Today I want to mention a few foods that you might want to consider weaving into your diet during pregnancy. Firstly, you don't have to eat for two during pregnancy. A healthy well rounded diet will tick most boxes. I found pregnancy was really great for me as I became considerably more attentive to what I was putting into my body. No drastic changes needed, just varying my diet and making sure I was eating everything I would usually need nutritionally. A good breakfast is really important, both from the point of view of preventing you snacking on useless less healthy snacks during the day, and also for keeping nausea at bay particularly in early pregnancy. Plenty of fruit and veg will provide plenty of vital nutrients and minerals, as well as providing fibre and helping to aid digestion and prevent constipation which can be quite common particularly in later pregnancy. Ideally replace at least some of your refined starchy foods with their whole grain or higher fibre counterparts. These foods help fill you up and provide energy without containing too many calories however they should only make up about 1/3 of your diet. Since pregnancy I actually prefer the whole grain versions of most things so has been something I've continued! Try and eat some protein every day (these do not have to be animal proteins for the vegetarians amongst us!). One really good food to try and incorporate are eggs. Eggs are very high, not just in protein, but in choline. Choline -- found in egg yolks, lean red meat, fish, poultry, legumes, nuts and cruciferous vegetables -- has many functions, but recent studies have shown its role in prenatal brain development. Some studies have found that eating dates in late pregnancy, around 60-80 grams a day of fruit, may increase cervical ripening, reduce the need for a medical labor induction or augmentation, and one small study found a positive effect on postpartum blood loss. Dates are high in sugar though so just be wary of that if you have gestational diabetes. On the whole - a well balanced diet, taking a good prenatal supplement and a folate supplement should tick most of the necessary boxes for pregnancy diet and give you all you and your baby need. Staying hydrated, eating to hunger will all help, and while no need to eat for two, you equally needn't deny yourself any treats. It would have been a long, long pregnancy without a bar of chocolate and a cuppa after work! What did you eat a lot of during pregnancy? Any cravings or snacks you found good? Share them below!

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