Your concerns about eating during pregnancy will change slightly as your baby grows and develops throughout the next nine months. During the first three months, most expectant mothers must make sweeping lifestyle changes to accommodate the new baby. This may include weaning off a caffeine habit, no longer eating junk food, and switching to whole foods and all-natural foods in lieu of processed food products.
In this article, we will examine the changes in your diet during the last two trimesters. During the last six months of pregnancy, after you have kicked your bad habits and implemented healthy ones in their places, you should focus on eating the right foods to give your baby everything she needs to develop.
Second Trimester Needs and Concerns
Second trimester nutrition is focused upon giving your baby the nutrients she needs to develop her brain, spinal cord, and nervous system properly. This is why it’s so essential to increase the amount of protein you eat during this trimester.
In fact, experts agree that you should aim for a serving of lean protein with every meal, including snacks, during months three to six. In addition, you may begin experiencing cravings during this time.
If your cravings are for unhealthy foods, try to limit your consumption to keep your weight gain on an even keel. If you have cravings for healthy foods, indulge them as you see fit.
If you are concerned that your cravings may be caused by a nutritional deficit, consult with your healthcare professional. She may be able to determine if your cravings are being caused by a lack of certain nutrients in your diet.
The second trimester is also one in which you gain the most amount of weight in the quickest amount of time. By carefully monitoring your diet, you can help keep this gain to a healthy minimum. Most experts agree that a gain of 20-30 pounds throughout the course of your pregnancy is ideal.
During the second trimester, you may gain between 10 and 20 of those pounds. By monitoring your weight gain and keeping it within these parameters, you can be assured of an easier delivery as well as a swifter return to your pre-baby weight after you give birth.
Third Trimester Needs and Concerns
Third trimester nutrition is focused on alleviating many of the common discomforts of pregnancy. Unfortunately, many women experience heartburn during this last trimester.
This is due to hormonal changes that relax your muscles for delivery; these hormones also relax the muscle between your esophagus and stomach. This allows stomach acid to creep back up your throat, causing the pain and burning associated with indigestion and heartburn.
You may need to limit your consumption of spicy, citrus, and vinegar-laden foods, and may try eating papaya, which neutralizes stomach acid. You may also choose to sleep sitting in a propped-up position, which can help slow the flow of stomach acid up your esophagus.
Another common problem during this third trimester is the issue of water retention. This is also caused by hormonal changes along with the increasing weight of your baby, which presses on your veins, slowing the flow of blood through your body. This allows fluids to accumulate, particularly in your lower legs and feet. You can ease water retention by increasing your consumption of water and by cutting back on your sodium intake.
Avoid processed foods. You should also avoid or severely any foods that are naturally high in sodium, such as cheeses, salted nuts, and so forth. Nutritional changes aside, you might also need to wear compression socks and rest with your feet elevated to get the blood flowing again. Exercise is another great way to keep your blood flowing and stay healthy during this last stage of pregnancy.