Doctor vaccinating young pregnant woman

Why Correct Nutrition Information is Vital for Pregnant Women

While pregnancy is an exciting time for all expectant parents, it can also be overwhelming. Fortunately there’s a great amount of help out there, including supportive antenatal care.

When it comes to antenatal care, St John Medical offers a variety of specialised services such as providing the correct nutrition information by seasoned health professionals who take both physical and mental wellbeing into account.

Read on to the find out why we believe correct nutrition should be one of the key considerations during your pregnancy and what to expect (from your diet) when expecting.

The Importance of Antenatal Care & Good Nutrition

The importance of antenatal care cannot be underestimated, as it can help to detect abnormalities and preventable illnesses in both the pregnant woman and her developing child. That’s why finding the right antenatal care provider can go a long way to ensuring pregnant mums-to-be get the best support, health advice and guidance on offer.

When it comes to maternal nutrition, a healthy and balanced diet during pregnancy helps protect you and your baby from immediate and long-term health risks. Some of the main complications that contribute to poor foetal development as a direct result of poor maternal nutrition include:


  • A foetus adapts its metabolism and other body systems to cope with different states of nutrition. So an under-nourished foetus which doesn’t receive enough energy responds by reducing glucose and insulin production, which ultimately slows the rate of foetal growth and increases the risk of low birth weight.
  • This may also alter the the metabolism permanently and leave your baby exposed to metabolic conditions such as diabetes.
  • The foetus also adapts to under-nutrition by redirecting blood flow to support the brain, but at the expense of fully developing other organs including the kidneys, muscles and endocrine system (the system which regulates the body’s hormone production).

“Foetal programming”:

  • The foetal learns nutritional habits which will influence it for the rest of its life before it’s even born.
  • This effect influences not only how much an individual consumes, but also their food preferences. Individuals who are programmed to consume high-fat, high-sugar diets in utero, also have a great tendency to consume such diets throughout life.

How to Keep your Baby Healthy and your Body Happy During Pregnancy

Correct nutrition is vital for preparing your body for the demands of pregnancy. During pregnancy, a woman’s macronutrient (energy) and micronutrient (vitamin & mineral) requirements increase, so it’s even more important to consume food which will give you both the energy and specific vitamin and mineral essential to maintaining both you and your baby’s health.

Therefore, women require an additional 240 calories of energy a day in the second trimester and 452 calories per day in the third trimester of pregnancy to account for foetal growth. An additional 975 milligrams of iron is also required in the course of the pregnancy to form foetal and additional maternal blood.

To ensure you get the increased nutrients needed during this time, a varied diet that includes the right amount of healthy foods from the five food groups generally provides our bodies with enough of each vitamin and mineral each day.

However, there are certain foods that should be avoided during pregnancy that contain enzymes and proteins that are dangerous to a developing foetus, including:

  • Raw fish
  • Undercooked eggs
  • Unpasteurised/soft cheese

It’s also important to remember that your immune system is now working for two, making it more susceptible to bacterial attacks. Talk to your antenatal providers about what other foods to stay away from.

Starting your Antenatal Care with St John Medical 

When you find out you’re pregnant, it’s best to book an antenatal check-up with an St John Medical doctor or nurse as soon as possible. If you have special health needs, your midwife, doctor or obstetrician may opt for shared responsibility regarding your maternity care, which means they may all decide to meet with you during your pregnancy.

You’ll be given information about:

  • Folic acid and Vitamin D supplements
  • Nutrition, diet and food hygiene
  • Lifestyle factors that may affect your health or the health of your baby, such as smoking, recreational drug use and alcohol consumption
  • Antenatal screening tests

St John Medical in Cannington has a GP Obstetrician and an onsite CTG machine – a specialised piece of equipment that can measure your baby’s heart rate.

To book an appointment with a GP Obstetrician, either book online or call our Cannington clinic on 9350 8000.

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