From little things, big things grow!

Our project coordinator and registered dietitian, Dr Sharleen O’Reilly, recently gave a public lecture on nutrition during and after pregnancy. The lecture was the final one in a series of food and health public lectures organised by University College Dublin.

Here are a few of the key points for your pregnancy:

  • Healthy eating is the foundation to build your diet on;
  • Being active really does help in pregnancy – with delivery and by instilling healthy active habits in our children;
  • Taking folic acid is important – it helps with healthy development of baby’s brain, nerves and spine;
  • Taking vitamin D is also important, it is needed to form strong bones and teeth in both baby and mum;
  • Avoid alcohol – it is linked to developmental problems for baby;
  • Hydration is key – thirst is not a great indicator of how well hydrated you are, pale urine is;
  • Limit your caffeine intake and don’t forget caffeine is not just in drinks!
  • Gaining weight during your second and third trimesters helps to grow a healthy baby. The amount of weight gain recommended will depend on your body stores that you started your pregnancy with;
  • Fibre helps to keep constipation away but make sure you drink plenty of water with it and keep active.

Human milk is a nutrition superfood

Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months is the best way to ensure your baby has the best start to life. Both mother and baby benefit from breastfeeding as does the wider community. Human milk adapts as your baby grows and offers on demand perfect nutrition for your little one. It also provides numerous protective factors including antibodies which help to build baby’s immunity and oligosaccharides which help mature their gut.

Breastfeeding is a new skill that takes time to learn so be patient and be kind to yourself!

If you want to learn more about pregnancy and infant feeding nutrition, a recording of the lecture is available here.

If you would like to catch up on any of the other lectures in the series, please visit the UCD Institute of Food and Health YouTube page.