So what’s a healthy pregnancy diet for my partner?
Being pregnant can be hard work, and your partner’s body needs all the help it can get! Healthy eating during pregnancy will keep her energy levels up and help prepare her for the birth. Her daily diet should include:
- Fresh fruit and vegetables – particularly citrus fruits and dark green vegetables
- Starchy foods – such as bread, pasta, grains, potatoes, and cereals
- Dairy – milk, yoghurt, fromage frais and cheese
- Lean meat or fish – especially fresh tuna, mackerel, sardines, and trout
- Fatty and sugary foods – but not too many; encourage your partner to save sweets and cakes for the odd treat
What’s so good about fish?
Eating fish twice a week, including one portion of oily fish, is good for your partner and your baby. White fish like cod and haddock are good sources of protein and are very low in fat. Oily fish such as fresh tuna, mackerel, sardines and trout can also help the development of your baby’s brain and eyesight. But make sure your partner doesn’t have more than two portions of oily fish a week, and stays clear of shark, swordfish and marlin, as these can contain high levels of mercury.
Staying well-hydrated can help keep tiredness, headaches and bladder and kidney problems at bay. So make sure your partner drinks plenty of water or diluted juice throughout the day.
Foods your partner should avoid for a healthy pregnancy
- Raw or undercooked meat or fish
- Mould-ripened cheeses, such as brie, camembert
- Mould-ripened soft goat’s cheeses
- Uncooked blue-veined cheeses, such as gorgonzola
- Unpasteurised dairy products, including milk
- Raw shellfish, such as oysters
- Swordfish, marlin or shark
- Partly-cooked eggs
- Liver and liver products such as pâté
Also, if you're heating or re-heating meals, make sure it's piping hot all the way through before tucking in. For a more detailed list, take a look at our Foods to avoid during pregnancy article.
The importance of folic acid
Folic acid is very important for babies’ development, reducing the risk of spina bifida. Your partner can boost her folic acid intake by eating certain foods, but doctors also recommend that women who are pregnant or trying for a baby take a folic acid supplement once a day until their 12th week of pregnancy.
Foods high in folic acid
- Dark green vegetables
- Wholegrain cereals
- Beans and pulses
- Milk and yoghurt
- Yeast or malt extracts
Getting enough iron
A balanced diet provides most of us with all the iron we need. But iron is key for a healthy pregnancy, so it’s important that your partner ensures she is getting enough. To help your partner keep her iron levels up, there are some foods she can include in her pregnancy diet:
- Almond and brazil nuts
- Eggs (hard-boiled)
- Dried fruit
- Red meat
- Dark green vegetables such as broccoli, watercress, and spinach
- Wholegrain bread, brown rice and cereals
- Dried fruit
Preparing food for your partner
It’s lovely to take care of your pregnant partner by cooking for her. But there are a couple of key precautions you should take. If you’re cooking meat, make sure you cook it through thoroughly. And wash fruit and vegetables carefully.
Is coffee safe?
The good news for your partner is that she doesn’t need to give up caffeine entirely! According to the Food Standards Agency, pregnant women shouldn’t have more than 200mg of caffeine a day – that’s about two mugs of instant coffee. Your partner may not realise that cola drinks contain caffeine too. So she may wish to switch to a caffeine-free version to avoid overdoing it.
More information about healthy eating during pregnancy
For more advice about your partner’s pregnancy diet, why not visit our Pregnancy Nutrition & Health section?