Understanding what is happening to your body and consuming the nutrients your body needs to aid development throughout pregnancy can be extremely helpful! Below is a brief introduction into your body, your baby and their needs in each trimester; followed by a few examples of nutrient rich foods.
The First Trimester
The first trimester can be tough, with lots of mums-to-be experiencing sickness, nausea and tiredness, the good news is that this should begin to ease off towards the beginning of the second trimester. By the end of week 13 your baby is around 2.5-3 inches long, and is showing facial features and organs and bone marrow developing.
Throughout the first trimester, you should be eating foods containing folate to help develop the baby’s nervous system. As well as taking folic acid supplement, try eating baked potato, oranges, bran flakes, asparagus, broccoli and spinach. Vitamin B6 helps to ease nausea (Try bananas, brown rice, peanut butter, wholegrain bread and Greek yoghurt); whilst iron will keep you well as your blood volume increases so eat porridge, chicken, beans and bran flakes to boost your iron intake. The baby’s nutritional needs are relatively small in the first couple of months, so nutrition during pregnancy is focused on you for the first trimester.
The Second Trimester
By the end of the second trimester, you have probably endured a few kicks to the ribs and had a night or two where you have struggled to get a good sleep. At around 15 inches, the baby can taste and smell and their eyes are able to produce tears. The rest of the major organs are nearing the end of their development too, so nutrition during pregnancy in the second trimester is really important.
In this trimester the baby’s bones and teeth are also developing, so any extra calcium or vitamin D will help (try milk, yoghurt, cheese and nuts); and omega 3 fatty acids will aid the baby’s brain development and can in be found in salmon and walnuts. Continue to consume foods with iron and folic acid content.
The Third Trimester
The tiredness you felt in your first trimester will return. The baby is almost ready to be born. At 39 weeks your baby is between 17 and 23 inches long and weighs between 6 and 10 pounds. Towards the ends of pregnancy and after the baby is born the baby is growing hair, gaining weight and learning.
Some snacks which help to give you an energy boost include hummus and pitta bread, wholemeal bread and peanut butter, cheese or on wholemeal toast, flapjacks and banana bread. A key vitamin for birth and breast feeding is vitamin K, which can be found pasta, wholemeal toast, rocket, green beans, broccoli and melon. Again, continue to consume foods with iron and folic acid content.
Pregnancy involves lots on changes for your body, and it will continue to change in the months after the baby is born, so nutrition during pregnancy and post-partum is imperative to your’ and the baby’s health.