Preparing for Pregnancy

Diet, weight & exercise

Planning a pregnancy, becoming pregnant and breastfeeding are crucial times to assess and alter your own nutrition, eating and exercise habits. A balanced diet is vital during pregnancy. Eating a wide variety of healthy foods will help you meet your own nutritional needs as well as those of your baby, allowing your body to cope with the demands of pregnancy and giving your baby the best start in life. We recommend following the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating, to provide you with all the different nutrients essential for you and your baby. 

The guide divides foods into five groups: breads and cereals, vegetables and legumes, fruit, milk products and leans meats, eggs and nuts. Balance your diet by choosing a variety of foods from each of the food groups – and remember to drink plenty of water! Your baby can potentially develop diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes in adult life if you choose to practice poor nutrition during pregnancy.

Weight is a normal and necessary part of pregnancy. If you are significantly overweight, this makes pregnancy physically more difficult. Problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, preterm birth, congenital abnormalities, blood clots in the leg and lung, infections and the demand for a caesarean section all become more common in obese pregnant women. 

Your recommended weight gain depends upon your body mass index (BMI) pre-pregnancy: 

  • Pre-pregnancy BMI < 18.5 – you should gain between 12.5kg and 18kg.
  • Pre-pregnancy BMI 18.5 – 24.9 – you should gain between 11.5kg and 16kg.
  • Pre-pregnancy BMI 25-29 – you should gain between 7kg and 11.5kg.
  • Pre-pregnancy BMI >30 – you should gain between 5kg and 9kg.

If we suspect you are close to reaching or have reached a BMI of 30, you may be at higher risk of complications during your delivery. To make things as safe as possible for both you and the baby we will organise for you to meet with one of out anaesthetist doctors before your due date. If you have a BMI of 40 or over you will need to go to a tertiary hospital for your delivery. 

Regular exercise is crucial, helping you to manage and cope with the physical and emotional demands in pregnancy as well as preparing your body for childbirth. Even if you have not been very active beforehand, being pregnant is the ideal time to review the amount of exercise you do. Gentle exercise such as walking, swimming, aqua aerobics and yoga is recommended for pregnant women who have previously led quite a sedentary lifestyle. Women who are active and already doing regular exercise can continue, although modifying their programme is advised. If you have any concerns about the intensity and safety of your exercise, please discuss with one of our GP Obstetricians. 

At the Kincraig Medical Clinic we recommend a healthy lifestyle, balanced diet and exercise during pregnancy. Some fitness options in Naracoorte for pregnant women include:

Naracoorte Health & Fitness Centre
Call Brett Gould to discuss your needs and have a chat for your best way forward!
Phone: 8762 3399
Mobile: 0409 186 343
Naracoorte Physiotherapy Clinic
Currently running Prenatal Hydrotherapy Classes!
Ph: 8762 8130

Also available to help you with dietary requirements or if you would like further nutrition advice, you can make an appointment with Tasteful Dietetics dietician Julie Rowntree on 0405 308 337, consulting from the Kincraig Medical Clinic.


Smoking tobacco is extremely harmful in pregnancy. Your baby is exposed to harmful and dangerous chemicals and receives less oxygen. Pregnant women who smoke are at risk of miscarriage, poor fetal growth, placental problems and stillbirth. Quitting prior to becoming pregnant is best, but even if you are already pregnant it will be beneficial to both you and your baby to quit. Exposure to tobacco smoke in pregnancy is also linked to issues after the baby is born such as cot death and asthma. If your partner, family members or friends smoke, it is recommended for them to quit too as passive smoking is just as dangerous to you and your unborn baby. 

For more information, advice and support please visit the Quitline SA website on

Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamin and Mineral supplements are beneficial to both yourself and your baby during pregnancy and can be purchased in pharmacies and supermarkets. When buying your vitamin and mineral supplements, it is important to read the label on the packet to make certain that the doses are correct for pregnancy. 

Folic Acid
Folic Acid (folate) is a B group vitamin essential for the correct growth and development of the fetus. Although it can be sourced from food such as leafy green vegetables and breads and cereals, taking a daily supplement both prior to and during your pregnancy reduces the risk of your baby developing neural tube defects such as spina bifida. The recommended dose is 500 micrograms a day commencing a month prior to your pregnancy and throughout the whole first trimester. 

Iodine is a mineral utilised by the thyroid gland to produce hormones needed for proper brain and nervous system development. Deficiencies of iodine are becoming more common in Australia and have been linked to causing problems such as learning difficulties and intellectual disability. It is recommended by The National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia that pregnant and breastfeeding women take a supplement of 150 micrograms per day. If you have or are suspected to have a thyroid condition you should discuss the use of an Iodine supplement with your GP Obstetrician prior to commencing. 

Other Supplements
If pregnant and breastfeeding women are following a restricted diet for ethical or health reasons, they may need additional vitamin and mineral supplements. For example, lactose intolerant women may need to take calcium supplements, and vegan/vegetarian women make require extra vitamin B12 or iron. It may be useful to have a blood test to determine if you and your baby may benefit from taking extra supplements, you can discuss this with your Doctor. Vitamin D deficiency is becoming more common in pregnancy. If you have dark skin or have minimal exposure to the sun you may be at risk of a Vitamin D deficiency and should discuss this with your Doctor also. Routine blood tests throughout your pregnancy include tests for your iron and Vitamin D levels. –