Nutrition During Pregnancy: Delicious Food For Every Stage
Pregnancy can be a difficult road to navigate. As you become excited, simply come to terms or begin to accept your journey towards being a mother, everything from parenting, birthing, doctors, announcements and other big decisions come your way. Add some intense nausea, constipation or general discomfort to the mix and the last thing you will be thinking about is what you should be eating.
Nutrition is vital to a healthy, comfortable pregnancy. There is a wide assortment of foods that will help alleviate pregnancy symptoms as well as assist in the development of the fetus. To help you on your path through pregnancy, we have developed a list of sixteen foods that can be integrated into your diet throughout the course of the prenatal experience. Don’t give up on the food item once the affiliated stage has passed, all of these foods are amazing throughout your pregnancy.
The first Trimester is a time when the very first cells come together. The baby’s organs begin to take shape and muscles form. By the end of this trimester the fetus is fully formed. Additionally, you may experience some serious nausea, and curl-up-in-a-ball and crawl back to bed exhaustion. Thankfully, there are some amazing foods that can be added to your regular diet to improve your experience and assist in the development of your baby.
Week 6: Ginger
At six weeks, nausea often begins to set in. Enter the nausea buster. Ginger is amazing. Not only does it improve immunity (just when you need it), but it also seriously reduces nausea. Enjoying ginger in meals, as a tea, or even keeping some crystallized ginger or ginger candies on hand is one way to keep potential vomiting at bay.
Week 7: Avocado
Rich, creamy, totally delicious avocado is a must at this stage of pregnancy. Enjoying half an avocado multiple times a week can not only boost your energy levels but also improve your ability to absorb key fat soluble vitamins. Avocados are rich in vitamins C and B6 and have been shown to ease morning sickness. Plus, for those who are really ill, even just a spoonful of avocado can pack a calorie punch to keep you upright a little longer. Try our sushi bowl.
Week 8: Carrots
We all know the old wive’s tale that carrots improve eyesight. The truth is, carrots actually do contain the nutrients that are vital to eye development. At eight weeks, the fetus is developing their retina and layers of cells that perceive light. What better time to load up on beta-carotene? Beta-carotene, which the body processes into vitamin A, is also important to the skin, bone and organs. To top it off, carrots are rich in fibre which will help as constipation begins to set in.
Week 9: Chia seeds
Pregnancy isn’t easy. Our bodies have to do a ton of work to create a new being. Chia seeds are a wonderful source of a wide variety of vitamins that are lost in the development of the fetus. They're high in essential minerals like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, zinc, iron and niacin. Plus as an insoluble fibre, they help with the onset of constipation. Try our chia oatmeal.
Week 10: Eggs, Walnuts and/or Salmon
Omega fatty acids are essential nutrients, meaning that our bodies cannot produce them naturally. Omega 3 fatty acids include a super important type called DHA. DHA is key to the development of the brain and the retinas and help to process fat soluble vitamins like A and E. During the tenth week of pregnancy the body is developing the baby's brain and continuing to create the lovely eyes of your baby. So, regardless of your food restrictions, be sure to integrate a string source of DHA into your diet at this time. Try our tortilla quiche.
Week 11: Coconut water
During pregnancy our need for hydration increases significantly. This is due to a wide range of factors. For one, your body temperature and blood volume has increased. Water also helps to send the vital water-soluble vitamins to the fetus. Additionally, nausea, constipation and swelling will be seriously improved by staying hydrated. While water is certainly king, including a daily dose of coconut water may just be what your body is looking for. Coconut water is loaded with electrolytes, potassium and magnesium plus, it will keep your blood sugar level steady. A lot of people report that coconut water can get things moving incredibly quickly and may be just what you need to be able to continue exercising. Try our coconut water smoothie.
Week 12: Oats
Fibre is the word. By week 12 you are probably beginning to feel less nauseous but constipation may be increasing. Pressure on the digestive system from your growing belly is one major culprit. Hormones are another. Thankfully, oats are an awesome way to add fibre plus a slew of necessary nutrients to your diet. At this point the baby’s digestive system is beginning to develop, so increasing fibre intake and adding B vitamins, iron and other minerals from oats is wonderful for the progression of your pregnancy. Try our peanut butter oat energy bites.
During your second trimester, the baby’s bones are developing. It is super important during this phase that mamas-to-be consume adequate sources of calcium, vitamin D and magnesium. These vitamins and minerals will make sure that your baby is super strong. In addition, brain growth continues so don’t give up on those omegas!
Weeks 13 to 14: Chamomile Tea
Many people report that by the beginning of their second trimester their constipation is more annoying than ever. Others may begin to feel surprisingly energetic which may mean there is more time for worry. Antenatal anxiety and depression is more common than you might think and adding something calming and soothing like chamomile tea can help to reduce stress, relax the intestine and have an anti-inflammatory effect on the nervous system. (Drink chamomile with caution or ask your physician, as some experts recommend avoiding relaxants during pregnancy.)
Weeks 14 and 15: Edamame or Tofu
Soybeans are incredibly rich in calcium and protein. They are an amazing way to increase your calcium intake without overdoing it in calories. Your body does need an extra 300 to 350 calories each day, but your hunger may be insatiable. By enjoying low-cal, nutrient-dense food, you get a lot more bang for your buck. Soy also contains ample folate and is easy to add to stir fries, pastas or even sweet desserts. Try our lettuce wraps.
Weeks 16 and 17: Broccoli
Known for being a good source of calcium, this veggie is also packed with vitamin C, folate, and vitamin B6. All of which are vital to your growing baby. Plus now that baby can hear you from inside the womb, why not try to set some key food preferences before they are even born. While it is unlikely that there is any correlation to food preferences and what you eat while you are pregnant the other benefits of broccoli are worth giving it a try! Try our broccoli salad.
Weeks 18 and 19: Lemon Juice
Lemon juice acts as an amazing metabolism booster and diuretic. Pregnant women nearing their third trimester are likely experiencing some inflammation, especially if you live in a hot country. Your appetite may vary as you make space to fit your growing baby. To top it off, iron stores are super necessary and lemon or other vitamin-c rich fruits, help with the absorption of iron in the digestive system. Lemon juice is a wonderful way to start the day. Simply add to lemon juice to a glass of water and enjoy the many benefits it has to offer.
Weeks 20 and 21: Lentils
During the final 16 weeks of pregnancy, the baby’s brain begins to grow at a significant rate. Like beans and legumes, lentils are a wonderful source of folate, iron and protein which just happens to be exactly what that growing brain requires. Plus they are rich in fibre which will prevent constipation and potential hemorrhoids. Try our lentil curry.
Weeks 22 to 24: Pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin seeds are yet another iron rich food for the third trimester. They also contain zinc and a range of B vitamins, all of which are incredibly important for prenatal development. The baby is now developing grip, hearing and vision, so nutrient-rich foods like pumpkin seeds are a relatively easy and effective food to add to your diet. Try our pumpkin seed breakfast mega mix.
The third trimester is one of growth. it is super important that you continue to fuel the body with all of the beautiful foods you are already eating. The baby is getting bigger, hungrier and developing faster than ever. Unfortunately, this also happens to be a time when discomfort might be at its peak. Enjoying soothing and diuretic foods is going to be important to your ability to relax and enjoy the final stage of your pregnancy.
Month 7: Peppermint tea
By seven months you have likely experienced some indigestion and heartburn. Not only have the muscles in your throat relaxed but the stomach actually tilts about 45-degrees by the third trimester. This increases your chances of heartburn and digestive discomfort. Now that you have integrated such a wonderful range of healthy foods into your diet, it is time you take a moment to relax, refresh and ease that indigestion. Peppermint tea is a wonderful digestive aid and it eases heartburn and can help relax the mind in these final months of pregnancy.
Month 8: Cucumber
Hydration is still key. And while you may be running to the bathroom more than ever, eating (and drinking) hydrating foods can be hugely helpful for you. Cucumber also acts as a strong diuretic so that any water you happen to be retaining will easily be eliminated, reducing your chances of swelling in the hands and feet. Cucumbers are rich in fibre, B vitamins and important minerals. Try our cucumber smoothie.
Month 9: Dandelion tea
Dandelion tea isn’t just a lovely aid for detoxification and organ health, it also happens to be a useful diuretic. During the final month of pregnancy many women experience increased swelling and decreased appetite due to the baby pressing on the stomach. Dandelion tea is know to stimulate the appetite, improve the metabolism and even promotes lactation after delivery. You are about to welcome your bundle of joy into the world, sit down and enjoy a moment of relaxation with a warm cup of tea.