Health Articles

Top 8 Pregnancy Nutrients

Top 8 Pregnancy Nutrients
  1. Choline – an essential nutrient to support the development the baby's brain and the development of the placenta.

Dietary sources: 2 eggs a day provide around 50% of your choline needs, however beef, soybeans, chicken, cod, mushrooms, potatoes and quinoa are all great sources of choline

  1. Iodine and selenium - when trying to conceive it’s important to have your Thyroid levels within target range. Selenium is a mineral that is also and antioxidant and has a key role in thyroid health, along with iodine. Iodine is used to make important hormones that help with metabolism and can affect your period regularity.

Dietary Sources: Selenium: Beef, brazil nuts, tuna, sardines, poultry, prawns

Iodine: Seaweed, eggs, tuna, ionised salt

  1. Folate – Before falling pregnant and during pregnancy it is important to get rich sources of folate in your diet, this is because it can prevent birth defects known as neural tube defects such as spina bifida you may also require supplementation but speak to your doctor first.

Dietary sources: Green leafy vegetables, kiwi fruit, avocado, beetroot, seeds and nuts

  1. Iron – Iron is important in pregnancy, low iron levels can result in premature broth and low birth weights.

Dietary sources: Red meat, legumes, fortified breads and cereals (whole grains), green leafy vegetables! Hint: Boost your absorption of iron by eating a vitamin C rich food at the same time, for example some broccoli and steak.

  1. During pregnancy your immune system is lowered, therefore it is important to protect yourself and you baby from food-borne illness. Foods that are at higher risk of containing harmful bacteria leading to food poisoning include uncooked meat and seafood (including sushi), deli meats, pre-made salads, soft cheeses, unpasteurized milk, soft serve ice-cream, undercooked eggs or pate and meat spreads.
  2. Avoid high intakes of mercury as mercury can increase chances of birth defects and nervous system damage. Although it is important to ensure adequate intake of omega 3 fatty acids during pregnancy, avoid large quantities of deep-sea fish, the current recommendations are:
  • Shark (flake), broadbill, marlin and swordfish should only be eaten once per fortnight with no other fish during that fortnight
  • Orange roughy (sea perch) and catfish should be eaten no more than once per week, with no other fish that week
  • Two to three serves per week of any other fish not mentioned above may be eaten safely. Such as tuna, sardines, salmon and rainbow trout
  1. Omega 3 – Although avoiding excessive amounts of seafood is recommended during pregnancy, it’s important to ensure omega 3’s is part of the pregnancy diet, mostly found in oily fish. Omega 3’s can only be obtained by the body and is essential for bubs eyes, brain and nerve development.

Dietary sources: low mercury fish per week such as salmon, tuna or trout, and plant-based omega 3 sources such as nuts, seeds or vegetable oils


Recipes for Pregnancy

Salmon, black rice and quinoa salad (Salmon is a good source of Omega 3’s for Pregnancy – ensure Salmon is cooked thoroughly)


  • 1 cup black rice (cook as per packet instructions)
  • 1/2 cup tri-colored quinoa (cook as per packet instructions)
  • 1 cooked fresh sliced cooked beetroot
  • ½ cup of coriander
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 200g salmon (canned or cooked fresh), sliced
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon, grated and juiced
  • 2 tsp horseradish cream


  1. Prepare ingredients as above
  2. Prepare the dressing by whisking oil, grated lemon rind, juice and horseradish
  3. Mix the cooked grains, beetroot, salmon and coriander together in a large bowl.
  4. Drizzle the dressing over salad, top with avocado

Veggie Frittata – serves 4 (Eggs are a good source of Choline for pregnancy – ensure egg is cooked thoroughly)


  • 500g butternut pumpkin, cut into 1cm cubes
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 leeks, white part sliced only
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/2 cup, cream
  • 250g cherry tomatoes


  • Preheat oven to 180°C and line an oven tray with baking paper.
  • Transfer the pumpkin to the lined tray and drizzle with 2 teaspoons of the oil. Roast for 25 minutes or until tender.
  • Add the remaining oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add the leek and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until leek softens, then add the pumpkin and tomato and combine
  • Whisk the eggs and cream together in a medium bowl, then add the pumpkin, leek and tomato, combine. Add mixture back to the fry pan until the frittata is set or hardened around the edged. Finish of under the grill for around 5-7 minutes until golden brown and set

Ginger Beef & Citrus Stir-fry - Serves 4  (Beef is a good source of Iron for pregnancy)



  • 2 cup brown rice (cooked)
  • 4 tbsp tamari sauce
  • 6 cm piece ginger root
  • Ground black pepper (to season)
  • 1 lemon, juiced (8 tbls)
  • 2tablespoons peanut oil
  • 400g cooked beef (cut into pieces)
  • 1 red capsicum (sliced)
  • 1 head of broccoli (chopped)
  • 8 leaves of bok Choy (chopped)
  • 1 Brown onion (chopped)
  • 200g brown mushrooms (chopped)


  1. Prepare ingredients listed above
  2. Preheat wok with peanut oil and brown pieces of beef, once beef has browned off - remove and place aside
  3. Start bringing brown rice to the boil to cook (should take ~30-40mins)
  4. Add brown onion to the work until softened, add vegetables and stir fry, once softened and beef back to wok and cook through, add ginger root
  5. Once chicken and vegetables are cooked, add mushrooms to soften, then add tamari sauce, pepper, and lemon juice to dish and remove the ginger root
  6. Serve over cooked brown rice



Nutrition and Brain Health
Iron Rich Foods