Mums-to-be who are taking herbal supplements to improve their diet should ensure the ones they buy are specifically designed for pregnancy.

Dr Joanne Helcke, pregnancy and post-natal fitness specialist and founder of Zest4lifeUK, explained that expectant women should try to eat a healthy, balanced diet - even if they are experiencing morning sickness.

"Wholegrain carbohydrates - brown basmati rice, oat cakes and porridge - eaten at regular intervals throughout the day, are an excellent way of staving off morning sickness," she pointed out.

"It’s best to keep off fried, oily food in pregnancy as it tends to trigger queasiness, not to mention piling on the pounds. I always suggest having some oatcakes or rice cakes on the bedside table and having a nibble before even attempting to get out of bed in the morning."

Pregnant women also need to up their protein intake when expecting a baby, so stock up on chicken, salmon, wholegrain breads and cereals, calcium-rich dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheese, legumes and soy.

Dr Helcke advised mums-to-be to increase their fruit and vegetable consumption, aiming for at least three portions of fruit and five portions of veg every day.

"[Include] lots of dark green leafy vegetables, along with brightly coloured fruit and veg," she said. "Try to combine eating spinach and other iron-rich vegetables with a little bit of orange juice, so as to help with the absorption of iron."

As well as giving mums and their unborn children the best possible nutrition, a healthy diet might be able to influence youngsters’ tastebuds when they grow up, research has suggested.

A recent study found that newborns recognise smells they have been exposed to in the last few days of pregnancy, the Telegraph reported, meaning a mother’s food choices during gestation could have a lasting impact on their little ones.

Posted by Matilda Jones