When you’re pregnant it feels as though everyone has an opinion about what you can and cannot eat. Your mother-in-law, girlfriends and even complete strangers start offering you advice. Sometimes it is tempting to cut out many foods after these comments, without finding out whether they do in fact cause harm to your unborn child.
What To Eat When You’re Pregnant helps you navigate your way through all of the conflicting information out there for pregnant women on nutrition. Written by a qualified nutritionist, it gives you a list of the foods that should be avoided, and why. One question it does not answer though is why every pregnancy book seems to be convinced that pregnant women would want to eat shark and marlin!
The book addresses the issue of changing medical opinions head on, and explains why what may have been recommended or promoted in your mother or grandmother’s day may not be seen as acceptable now. This may make it easier to refuse a pint of stout that your grandmother offers you when you are breastfeeding.
Particularly useful is the section on nutrients. We all know that a wide range of vitamins and minerals are good for your diet, but this book tells you exactly what each nutrient does, and which foods you can get it from.
Dr Conway also explodes the myth that a pregnant woman should eat for two, explaining exactly how much the growing baby takes from your body. The guidance about acceptable weight gain during pregnancy is informative, rather than judgmental.
The A to Z of ingredients does seem a little on the short side to be truly comprehensive, and cannot really claim to cover everything that a pregnant woman might consider eating or drinking. It is also a shame that the vegetarian section is so short, with vegetarianism becoming more and more mainstream, expectant mothers may want more than a few pages of advice about how to have a healthy vegetarian pregnancy.
Fortunately, the book does not end at birth, and continues to give advice on what breastfeeding women should eat and drink. This section is also good at allaying women’s fears that their milk is not of good enough quality – a suspicion that prevents many new mothers from continuing to breastfeed beyond the first few weeks. Dr Conway gives good sense advice about weight loss while breastfeeding, which is a subject that is on the mind of many new mums. Finally, the book looks to the future and considers what women considering another pregnancy should do to their diet.
Overall, What To Eat When You’re Pregnant is a helpful, no-nonsense guide to nutrition in pregnancy, which can be read from cover to cover or used as a reference guide if you want to ‘look up’ a particular food in the A to Z.