Early Life Nutrition

From the very first moments, your baby will need the right balance of energy and nutrition to thrive and grow. They totally depend on your body to support the ongoing development of their brain and immune systems, and that’s why your nutrition plays such an important part in their very young life.

With this in mind, we’ve created a general pregnancy timeline to guide you through each trimester. Discover your recommended daily intake of folic acid, iodine, calcium, iron and Omega 3, and find out the recommended foods to avoid.

Every step of the way, Nutricia offers you our expertise, support and advice in early life nutrition to help support your child’s progress. 

Please note: This website contains information of a general nature only and is not a substitute for advice from your health professional.You should always check with your healthcare professional before relying on any information posted on this site.


1st trimester

Pregnancy diet & nutrition


Eating a healthy, balanced diet when you’re pregnant, and taking a regular pregnancy supplement, should give you and your baby all the nutrients you need. Unless your healthcare professional advises otherwise, no other supplements are necessary.

Did you know?

You can expect to gain around 10-13kgs over the course of your pregnancy.

Deborah, Registered Nurse

Folic acid in pregnancy


Folic acid (also known as folate) is a B-group vitamin that’s important for the healthy development of the foetus in early pregnancy. If you’re of child-bearing age, are pregnant, or planning on getting pregnant, it’s recommended you take extra folic acid to help prevent neural tube defects, such as spina bifida. The best way to get enough folate is to take a daily supplement for at least one month before your child is conceived, and three months after.

At least 600µg per day + 400µg folic acid supplement.

Find out more at: Food Standards ANZ and Better Health

Did you know?

In September 2009, it became a legal requirement in Australia that all bread-making flour, except organic flour, contain added folic acid.

Christine, Registered Dietitian

Iodine in pregnancy


Your thyroid uses iodine to produce hormones that are important for the normal development of your baby’s brain and nervous system. So it’s very important that you consume enough iodine when you’re pregnant.

220µg per day + 150µg iodine supplement

Find out more at: NHMRC

Did you know?

When you’re pregnant, your body produces 50% more thyroid hormone, and so it’s recommended you take a daily iodine supplement.

Deborah, Registered Nurse

Nausea and vomiting


Nausea and vomiting, or ‘morning sickness’, affects up to 2/3 of pregnant women. Eating regular small meals, avoiding fatty and spicy foods, and eating small snacks such as crackers and fruit may help.

Find out more at: Better Health and NCBI

Did you know?

Research has shown that eating 1g of ginger daily may help with morning sickness.

Sue, Nutritionist

Calcium in pregnancy


Calcium helps build strong bones and teeth. When you’re pregnant, your calcium needs don’t actually increase: 1,000mg daily (for women aged 19–50) and 1,300mg daily (for adolescents or women over 51). Dairy foods (such as milk, cheese and yoghurt) and calcium-fortified soymilk are excellent dietary sources of calcium.

1000mg per day

Find out more at: Better Health and NIAMS

Did you know?

When pregnant, you have an increased capacity to absorb dietary calcium, meaning you don’t actually need more calcium.

Deborah, Registered Nurse

Omega 3 DHA fatty acids in pregnancy


Long chain omega-3 fatty acids are very important for your baby's neurological development. If you’re pregnant or breast feeding, it’s recommended you consume 200mg of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA daily.

200mg per day

Find out more at: NSW Food Authority and American Society of Nutrition

Did you know?

Supplementing your diet with the omega-3 fatty acid DHA when you’re pregnant may help reduce the risk of having a preterm birth.

Deborah, Registered Nurse

Mercury in fish


Although it's important to continue to eat fish when you're pregnant, you need to be careful about which fish you choose. Some types of fish contain mercury levels that can harm your baby's developing nervous system. This includes orange roughy (deep sea perch), swordfish and marlin. Instead, opt for fish such as mackerel, canned tuna, salmon and sardines.

Find out more at: NSW Food Authority

Did you know?

Fish oil products and supplements aren't a major source of dietary mercury and there’s no recommendation to restrict them in pregnancy.

Christine, Registered Dietitian

Iron requirements in pregnancy


Increasing your intake of iron - either through your diet or by taking a supplement - can help build your baby’s iron stores. Iron helps support their blood formation, which helps transport oxygen around their body.

27mg per day

Did you know?

Iron deficiency in pregnancy is common in Australia and many women need an iron supplement. Make sure you get your healthcare professional to check your iron levels.

Deborah, Registered Nurse

Foods to avoid during pregnancy


When you’re pregnant, there are some foods that are recommended to avoid. This is usually because the food has a higher risk of containing bacteria such as listeria or salmonella.

Foods to avoid: Unpasteurised milk or any foods made from unpasteurised milk, liver and patés, raw seafood, raw meats, raw or runny eggs, cold cooked chicken, processed meats, soft cheeses, pre-packed salads and alcohol.

Foods to limit: Shark, swordfish, orange roughy (also called deep sea perch), catfish and caffeine.

Find out more at: NSW Food Authority - Pregnancy Table, NSW Food Authority - Pregnancy Brochure, and Australian Dietary Guidelines

Did you know?

The Australian Dietary Guidelines have recently been revised and re-published. They provide up-to-date advice about the amounts and kinds of foods that are safe to eat when pregnant.

Sue, Nutritionist

Should nuts be avoided during pregnancy?


If you’re pregnant or breast feeding, you don’t need to avoid consuming nuts for fear of causing an allergic reaction in your baby. You only need to avoid nuts if you are allergic to them.

Find out more at: Australian Dietary Guidelines

Did you know?

Exposure to allergens - such as nuts - whilst in utero may help prime your child's immune system.

Christine, Registered Dietitian

2nd trimester

The myth of "eating for two"


There’s no need to eat more food during the first trimester of pregnancy. For the first trimester, your energy intake should stay about the same as it was before you were pregnant. During the second and third trimesters, your energy requirements will probably increase by about 1,400kJ - 1,900kJ a day. Increasing your diet with small snacks such as an additional piece of fruit, a sandwich or a tub of yoghurt will give you the extra energy you need.

1,400kJ - 1,900kJ extra a day

Find out more at: NHMRC Nutrient Reference Values for ANZ

3rd trimester

Bowel movements during pregnancy


Irregular bowel movements can be quite common during pregnancy. To help, it’s recommended you eat a high fibre diet with plenty of wholegrain cereals, fruit, vegetables and legumes and sufficient water.

Find out more at: Australian Dietary Guidelines

Did you know?

As well as extra fibre, many women say that exercising can help to keep them feeling regular.

Christine, Registered Dietitian

AptaNutrition ® 2017
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