Pregnancy is a time for eating sensibly – think wholesome, nourishing foods for both mother and baby. Read below for the best nutrition tips during pregnancy.
Pregnancy can be a magical time, but for some mothers-to-be it can also be full of stress and anxieties; especially when it comes to what we put in our bodies. Pregnancy is not a time for strict diets, but for eating sensibly. Think wholesome, nourishing foods for the health of both mother and baby. However, there will be times in your pregnancy when you just can’t stomach a bowl of greens and even the thought of vegetables is enough to make your stomach turn!
THE 1ST TRIMESTER
Folic Acid: The first trimester is where most women are adjusting to their surges in hormones. By the beginning of week 5 (even though your fetus is the size of an apple seed) the baby has all the correct building blocks in place for its vital organs. At this stage, folic acid is one of the important key nutrients for the normal development of the neural tube. Low levels are commonly associated with a neural tube defect.
Food sources of folic acid include: almonds, avocado, legumes, dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, asparagus and dried figs. If you’re taking a prenatal specific multi-vitamin, you’ll find that most of these supplements contain higher amounts of folic acid
Morning Sickness and Nausea: The first trimester can also come with some very tricky symptoms. Mothers-to-be might need to navigate morning sickness, nausea and tiredness…
Ginger is commonly recommended to help settle the tummy – try grating some fresh ginger into hot water or shop for ginger teabags. In the morning try adding it into a smoothie, one our favorites is avocado, spinach, fresh lemon, fresh ginger and apple juice. Which also happens to be a good source of folic acid too!
THE 2ND TRIMESTER
First trimester symptoms settling down by weeks 12-14 and energy levels picking up, you’ll start to feel more normal again! By this stage, your baby can already swallow and taste thanks to amniotic fluid, so start giving baby a taste for healthy, wholesome food. This starts with a balanced diet rich in:
- Vegetables: Think colourful varieties packed full of antioxidants like: beetroot, carrots, red pepper, broccoli, tomatoes, as well as plenty of dark green leafy vegetables
- Wholegrain or whole meal carbohydrates: Sweet potato, quinoa, whole meal, oats and rye.
- Proteins: Either vegetarian sources like eggs, beans and lentils or animal sources and fish.
- Good Fats: Avocado, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flaxseed and chia seeds.
Variation is key to ensure that you and your baby are getting all the important nutrients needed. Now is not the time to be cutting out major food groups or going on diets.
THE 3rd TRIMESTER:
Nutrients like calcium, magnesium, vitamin D and omega-3 fats are particularly important during this trimester to strengthen your baby’s bones.
- Calcium: As most people know, calcium can be found in dairy products, but smaller amounts can also be found in almonds, Brazil nuts, tofu and dark green leafy vegetables.
- Magnesium: Good sources can be found in foods like – avocado, almonds, walnuts, tofu, buckwheat, dark green leafy vegetables and apricots.
- Vitamin D: Actually comes from sunshine, so just 5 – 10 minutes of sun exposure without sunscreen (before 10:00am) should be enough to keep levels up.
Baby’s brain health is supported by good sources of:
- Omega-3 fats: Can found in foods such as oily fish like – salmon, mackerel, trout and sardines. Be sure not to consume more than 2 portions per week, You can find more plant-based sources of omega-3 fats from foods like chia seeds and flaxseed