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Healthy eating habits during pregnancy

Did you know that women who lack essential nutrients at the start of pregnancy put their own health at risk and perpetuate a cycle of poor mother-child nutrition? Healthy eating is crucial.

What do we know?
  • Pregnancy is one of the most important developmental periods in life.
  • Pregnant women should consume plenty of high-quality nutrients essential for the foetus development.
  • Pregnant women should also eat foods rich in folate (B vitamins), iron and calcium, to ensure their foetus gets the elements it needs to develop.
  • A lack of essential nutrients during pregnancy, when the child’s brain is growing most rapidly, can have very long-term effects on the child’s physical and intellectual development and performance in school.
  • Poor nutrition in pregnancy can also cause the child to suffer from heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, poor immune system or depression.
  • Pregnant women living in disadvantaged situations have more difficulty ensuring proper nutrition.
Paying attention to...
  • eat, from the beginning of pregnancy, foods with elements that are essential to foetal development.
  • inform all pregnant women, from the beginning of pregnancy, about good eating habits to adopt to keep themselves and their babies healthy.
What can be done?
  • Eat foods every day that are rich in folate (spinach), protein (meat, fish, eggs), vitamin A (fatty fish and milk products), vitamin C (fresh parsley, peppers, kiwis, citrus fruit), calcium (milk products) and iron (blood pudding, meat, seafood, fish, beans).
  • Eat enriched foods every day, such as iron-enriched cereals.
  • Consume more milk, eggs, cheese, fruits and vegetables, nuts and beans.
  • Avoid alcohol during pregnancy.
  • Guide pregnant women toward health professionals (nutritionists, nurses, doctors).

This article is a publication from the Centre of Excellence for Early Childhood Development.

Centre of Excellence for Early Childhood Development (CEECD)

The mandate of the CEECD is to foster the dissemination of scientific knowledge on the development of young children with an emphasis, but not exclusively, on the social and emotional development and on the services and policies that influence this development.

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