Last updated on Jun 25th, 2015 at 12:11 pm

While many pregnant women may use “eating for two’ as an excuse to have bigger meals, it’s best to know that overindulging might lead to some complications during pregnancy.

“Pregnant women might be eating for two, but this does not mean you need to eat twice as much as you normally would. Overeating might lead to excessive weight gain for you, it also puts you at risk for other pregnancy complications”, Dr Nicola Rains, a general practitioner at NHC Health Centres

According to Sue Scharf, dietician at NHC,“Eating healthy is even more important when you’re pregnant, because what you put in your body feeds both you and your baby. Your baby is dependent on you for getting enough nutrition. There are things you can do to get all the necessary nutrients without eating a lot more calories”.

  1. Eat a variety of foods to meet your daily needs for protein, calories, carbohydrates, healthy fats, key vitamins and minerals.  Try to look for different colours, types and textures in your food.
  2. Try to minimize foods that have more calories but few nutrients. Food like fizzy drinks, fried foods, or foods with extra fat and sugar. To get the healthy calories your baby needs, rather eat a few nutrition-packed snacks like low fat yoghurt, nuts, hard-boiled eggs, fresh fruit and salads such as baby carrots, celery stick; also low fat cracker breads + cottage cheese / hummus.
  3. Planning your daily meals gives structure to your eating habits, making it easier to follow a healthy pregnancy diet and help control weight gain.
  4. Foods that are close to their natural state are the best. Whole-grain bread or brown rice is  better  than white bread or rice, as well as fresh fruits rather than canned fruits in sugar syrup
  5. Be sure to choose healthier fats and oils (such as olive oil and canola oil; also avocado), eat sweets sparingly, and only following a healthy meal.
  6. Grab a bowl of home-made popcorn, a home-made fruit smoothie, mixed nuts, a serving of fruit or yoghurt if you feel that you are still not full after a meal.
  7. Drink LOTS of water throughout the day.
  8. Keep active as well – walk everyday; do a Pilates class (with a properly qualified instructor); join an ante-natal class.

“Remember that while pregnant, your baby’s health and growth are related to what you eat. When you are tempted to help yourself to another place of rice and chicken, remember that you are eating for a baby and not a full-size adult. It is all about quality over quantity” says Dr Rains.

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