Pregnancy Nutrition


The months or years of waiting to see 2 clear lines on a plastic stick. The emotion of doubting “Is this even real?”, “How should I tell my partner?”. You may feel elated or an impending doom has just been thrust upon you. Either way, from now on there is two to think of. Too many questions about what you should eat and what you can’t. Let’s take one stress away during this exciting time and simplify pregnancy nutrition for you.

First Trimester

In the first trimester pregnant women do not need any extra energy intake, however you should start taking a pre-natal supplement if you are not already doing so. I recommend Kin The Prenatal as it contains activated methylated folate. Activated methylated folate is highly bioavailable where as folic acid (found in lots of other popular prenatal supplements) is a synthetic form of B9 and relies on your liver to convert it to its active form, methylated folate. 1 in 3 women cannot convert folic acid efficiently.

Expected weight gain during the first trimester is between 0.5-2kg. This Is mostly due to the increase in extra fluid and blood volume needed to support the growing fetus.

Second and Third Trimester

In the second trimester we need around an extra 330-390kcal/d. Weight gain during the second and third trimester will vary. Some women may gain up to 20kg during pregnancy.

Nutrient to increase during pregnancy

  • Protein (Found in meats, poultry, fish, tofu, dairy, nuts and fortified products)
  • Iron (27 mg a day, 9 mg a day more than for non-pregnant women. This is why supplementation for most women is recommended. Iron is naturally found in meats, poultry, fish, lentils, broccoli, almonds and asparagus.)
  • Iodine (Found in seafood, seaweed, eggs, meats and dairy products, bread and iodised salt)
  • Folate (Supplementation with 400mcg/ day before conception and first trimester is recommended to help reduce the risk of neural tube defects such as spina bifida. Folate is naturally found in asparagus, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, lentils, spinach, chickpeas.)
  • B6 and B12 (Found in animal products, nutritional yeast)
  • Choline (Found in eggs, fish and beef)
  • Methionine (Found in eggs, meat, and fish)
  • Calcium (Found in dairy, dark green vegetables, fish with bones and fortified foods)
  • Vitamin D (Vitamin D is essential for your baby’s growth and development)
  • Follow a low glycemic load diet




Foods to avoid during pregnancy

  • Raw and uncooked meats
  • Chilled seafood
  • Soft Cheeses
  • Soft serve ice-cream
  • Unpasteured milk
  • Pre-prepared salads
  • Raw and uncooked eggs
  • High mercury containing fish in large amounts
  • Alcohol and caffeine
  • Artificial sweeteners, preservatives and additives
  • Soy products


This list looks long and confusing, however you will get your head around it very quickly. If you want to ensure you are definitely meeting your nutritional requirements and avoiding foods that don’t serve you or Bub I have created a 7 day meal plan with macronutrient breakdowns you can purchase here.


Written by Ashley Thomas
Dietitian and Nutritionist



  1. Pietrzik K, Bailey L, Shane B. Folic Acid and L-5-Methyltetrahydrofolate. Clinical Pharmacokinetics. 2010;49(8):535-548. doi:10.2165/11532990-000000000-00000
  2. Obeid R, Holzgreve W, Pietrzik K. Is 5-methyltetrahydrofolate an alternative to folic acid for the prevention of neural tube defects?Journal of Perinatal Medicine. 2013;41(5). doi:10.1515/jpm-2012-0256
  3. Thorne Research, Inc.5-Methyltetrahydrofolate Monograph. Alternative Medicine Review; 2006:Volume 11, Number 4.
  4. NSW Food Authority(Food Safety During Pregnancy)
  5. Royal Womens Hospital(Food safety during pregnancy) 
  6. NSW Food Authority(Why avoid certain foods)
  7. RANZCOG(Common questions in pregnancy)
  8. Food Standards Australia New Zealand(Pregnancy and healthy eating),
  9. Food Standards Australia New Zealand(Listeria)
  10. Food Standards Australia New Zealand(Caffeine)
  11. Food Standards Australia New Zealand(Mercury in fish)
  12. Australian Government Department of Health(Clinical practice guidelines – pregnancy care)
  13. Australian Government Department of Health(Food safety during pregnancy – what foods should you avoid?)
  14. Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy(Infant feeding and allergy prevention guidelines) 
  15. NSW Government Food Authority(Listeria and pregnancy) 
  16. Food Standards Australia and New Zealand(Listeria and food - advice for people at risk)
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