Health Overview of your ideal diet during each trimester.
A healthy diet is an important part of a healthy lifestyle at any time. However, this is especially vital if you’re pregnant or planning to get pregnant. Most nutritional changes should be made weeks or at least three months ahead to get your nutritional requirements into a healthy base.
So, are you wondering what to eat for a healthy pregnancy? We will help you eat your way to a healthy baby, by following a trimester by trimester diet. As your body and baby grow each week, month and trimester you need different vitamins and nutrients at each stage of your gestation. This will ensure a supply of the right nutrients at the right time.
Your first-trimester diet
This is the very beginning of your fetus' development. During this trimester your fetus will become a growing unborn baby. It goes from a collection of primordial cells that still will specialize and becomes tissues, organs, and muscles.
To ensure a healthy pregnancy these are some of the foods you should include in your diet to ensure a healthy baby:
- Dairy products – Include yoghurt, milk, and hard cheese in your first-trimester pregnancy diet. Most dairy products contain vitamin D. Being milk-based, they are a great source of calcium, protein, healthy fats, and folic acid.
- Folic acid - Folic acid is essential for the proper development of your baby’s neural tube. This develops into your baby's spinal cord and brain. Even if you are taking folic acid it is also necessary to include folate-rich foods in your regular meals. Folate-rich foods are spinach, kale, beans, asparagus, citrus, peas, lentils, avocado, Brussels sprouts, and okra.
- Whole Grains – A healthy source of carbohydrates, whole-grains such as wheat barley, brown rice, Bulgur wheat, millet, buckwheat, oatmeal, whole-wheat bread, contain fibre. They are abundant in B-vitamins and essential minerals like iron, magnesium, and selenium. These are essential for your baby’s healthy growth and development.
- Eggs And Poultry - Eating eggs and poultry meat in the first month of pregnancy will assist in the healthy development of your baby's body and brain. Eggs are an excellent source of protein and contain vitamins A, B2, B5, B6, B12, D, E, and K, and minerals like phosphorous, selenium, calcium and zinc.
- Poultry is also an excellent source of proteins.
- Fruits - Fruits such as avocados, pomegranate, bananas, guava, oranges, strawberries, and apples all contain several vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants necessary for the growth of the unborn baby.
- All Vegetables – selecting a spread of different coloured vegetables will ensure a broad selection of vitamins and nutrients. Eating plenty of colourful vegetables will ensure that you get the widest range of nutrients. People even state that you should eat the rainbow to get that perfect balance. Examples include broccoli, kale, spinach, carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplant, and cabbage.
- Seeds and Nuts - Seeds and nuts provide protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, flavonoids, and dietary fibre.
- Fish - Fish is the best example of a low-fat, high-quality protein. It is also a very good source of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins B2, D, and E, and essential minerals like potassium, calcium, zinc, iodine, magnesium, and phosphorous.
Eating during your second trimester includes all the foods you've become accustomed to in your first three months. However, some nutrients are often increased in volume. Add in the fact that your calorie intake should increase to keep up the extra work and development you and baby are going through.
It is important that your baby gains weight in this vital stage of growing their organs, muscles, and brain. Some nutrients become more important later in pregnancy.
We recommend increasing your intake of:
- leafy green vegetables
- lean meat and organ meats such as liver or kidneys - they are a good source of B-complex vitamins
- Beans, pulses and lentils – an excellent source of non-animal protein
- Whole grain foods, including bread, cereals, and oats
- Omegas – Essential in helping your baby's developing brain, and eyes.
- Iron - Iron helps to carry oxygen around the body. During pregnancy, iron supplies oxygen to the developing baby.
From this, iron is perhaps one of the key causes for concern. If a diet is lacking in iron, it could cause anemia. This will increase the risk of complications, such as early birth and postpartum depression. The recommended daily iron intake during pregnancy is 27 milligrams (mg).
Third trimester, eating for two
Your baby is capable of surviving outside the womb for most of the third trimester. After all, they class your baby as full-term at the end of week 37. During this trimester, she or he is busy building the body they need to survive after birth. By now all of the essential organs (heart, brain, muscles, organs, digestive tract, sensory organs) for life and basic survival are capable of sustaining life independent of your system. The last trimester can be physically and emotionally demanding for the mother.
What we recommend at this point is for you to focus on the following aspects of your diet:
- You should increase your iron and fibre intake as well as fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Keep up your pre-natal vitamins.
- You need to maintain your level of depleted water-soluble vitamins such as vitamin C, calcium and magnesium.
- Choline plays an important role in the development of your baby’s cell membranes, nerve impulses, and brain. Get this from eggs, liver, and peanuts.
- Increasing B-complex food will also help prepare your muscles for childbirth. Boost your levels of dark, leafy vegetables as well as whole grains and eggs.
- Omega-3 fatty acids are also vital in supporting your baby’s brain, eye, and central nervous system development. Oily fish are a wonderful source of these fatty acids.
The best start you can give your baby is to give them a healthy body and brain. There are a few basic ways to do this. A healthy diet and exercise, bolstered by a good prenatal vitamin is the best way to give your baby a good start and ensure a strong recovery for your body and you.
And remember a very High Quality Prenatal Vitamin should be taken to help make sure you are getting all the vitamins and minerals you and your baby need! Check out the Mama's Select range of Prenatal Vitamins Here.