Healthy eating for two

Nutrition plays a key role during pregnancy. It influences the health of the mother and the development of the baby. Food hygiene is also important.

Bauch einer schwangeren Frau von der Seite fotografiert

The ideal diet for your unborn child is preferably made up of fresh food with a high nutritional value as well as a balance between different food groups. Make sure as well that you get enough to drink. The recommendation is 1.5 to 2.5 litres per day. Drinking mineral water or unsweetened tea is also recommended.

Fruit and vegetables

Fruit and vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals. They also contain dietary fibre, which has a positive effect on digestion.

Eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. One portion corresponds to 120 g. This way, you’ll be sure to get enough vitamins and minerals. Always wash the fruit, vegetables and salad thoroughly beforehand.

Noodles, rice, potatoes, bread and grain products

Foods containing carbohydrates should be part of every meal and should be eaten at regular intervals throughout the day. They give energy to you and your child. Wholegrain products are best as they enable you to increase your intake of fibre, vitamins, minerals and secondary plant products. 

Poultry, meat, fish and other protein-rich foods such as meat substitutes, eggs and pulses

The foods listed above are rich in protein and micronutrients. Good alternative non-animal sources of protein are pulses or meat substitutes such as tofu or Quorn.

Vegetarians or vegans must take special care to get enough nutrients during pregnancy. It is possible to maintain a balanced vegetarian diet during pregnancy, but those on a vegan diet are advised to talk to a specialist.

Please note: animal-based food products may be contaminated with listeria. These bacteria can cause listeriosis, which is dangerous for you as an expectant mother as well as your unborn child. Becoming infected can lead to a miscarriage. There is also an increased risk that the newborn child will suffer from septicaemia or develop meningitis.                                                                                   

It is therefore important to maintain good kitchen hygiene and pay attention to best-before dates and the storage temperature of perishable foods. Only eat meat, fish and eggs which have been well cooked.

Milk products

Milk, quark, yoghurt and cheese contain protein. They are also rich in calcium as well as other minerals, and provide you with vitamins. You should eat three or four portions of these milk products every day. One portion corresponds to roughly:

  • 200ml milk (not raw milk)
  • 150-200g yoghurt
  • 60g soft cheese

Please note: animal-based food products may be contaminated with listeria. These bacteria can cause listeriosis, which is dangerous for you as an expectant mother as well as your unborn child. Becoming infected can lead to a miscarriage. There is also an increased risk that the newborn child will suffer from septicaemia or develop meningitis.                                                                             

It is therefore important to maintain good kitchen hygiene and pay attention to best-before dates and the storage temperature of perishable foods. Soft cheese and cheese made from unpasteurised milk should be avoided entirely.  

Fats

With fats, the same advice applies both before and after pregnancy. You should eat high-quality fats with a high proportion of Omega 3 fatty acids. These can be found in vegetable oils as well as nuts, kernels and seeds. Olive oil, rapeseed oil and walnuts are recommended in particular. You should only eat sausages and fried food in small amounts, as they contain a lot of saturated fatty acids.

Sweets

Of course you don't have to go without sweet food just because you’re pregnant. It is better for you and your child though if you go easy on chocolate, cakes, ice creams and mousses. A small portion a day is no problem. However, you shouldn't eat more than this even if you are having cravings. You should avoid sugary drinks as

too much sugar can be harmful for both mother and baby. If the mother develops gestational diabetes, this can put her at risk of various illnesses and infections. It also increases the risk of a premature birth. A test for gestational diabetes is usually carried out in the 25th week of pregnancy. If gestational diabetes is not treated, the unborn child grows faster than average. This can lead to birth complications for the mother and metabolic problems in the newborn.

Food supplements during pregnancy

You need more nutrients during pregnancy. In general, you can get all the nutrients you need in the right amounts by making a conscious effort to eat the right kind of food. The exceptions to this are Vitamin D and folic acid.

The Swiss Federal Office of Public Health recommends that women who want to conceive as well as pregnant women take 400 microgrammes of folic acid each day. Start before getting pregnant and take the product in the form of tablets or capsules at least until the end of the 12th week of pregnancy. This decreases the risk of your child developing a neural tube defect (such as spina bifida).

Please note: it is disputed whether pregnant women should take iodine and iron in the form of supplements. Please discuss this with your gynaecologist. Also talk to them about increasing your Vitamin D intake.

Articles about this topic

Disclaimer

The health information provided here is of a general nature and is intended exclusively for information purposes. It is not a substitute for medical advice. In the event of a health problem, you should always consult a doctor or medical specialist.

Do you have questions?

We're here to help.