What to eat when you're pregnant
The Mumpreneur Diaries

What to Eat When You’re Pregnant

Hey y’all! It’s Renata from Nourish with Renata, Intuitive Nutrition Coach and mama to three littles, a 9 year old girl and twin 6 year old boys. 

I’m so thankful to Lucy for allowing me to do a 4 part series here on the Mumpreneur Diaries to help you with nutrition during pregnancy and into motherhood.

So first of all, I have to say….

Congrats on your pregnancy! I am so excited for you!

One of the things that women immediately ask is “what am I supposed to eat when I’m pregnant?”

Well I’m here to help you with foods to focus on in each of your trimesters.

Let’s go!

First Trimester:

During the first trimester, many women experience food aversions which can make it challenging to eat healthy. Here are a few foods to focus on during your first trimester:

  • Folic acid: this is an essential nutrient during pregnancy because it can help prevent neural tube defects in the baby. Folic acid can be found in dark leafy greens, strawberries, cauliflower and fortified cereals.
  • Lean protein: protein can come from both animal and vegetable sources. Lean protein is also a fantastic way to make sure you’re getting much needed amino acids aka the building blocks of all our body cells, yours and the baby’s! Protein also helps you to feel fuller for longer.
  • Beans and legumes: a great source of plant based protein, as well as fiber, iron and folate. Fiber helps to keep your digestive system working properly, which is helpful for many women who experience constipation during pregnancy. 
  • Ginger tea or ginger chews: Ginger can be really helpful for nausea. You can infuse some fresh slices of ginger in warm water or find some low sugar ginger chews. 

To help combat morning sickness, aim to eat small meals every few hours. Dry, easy to eat snacks like pretzels or low sugar dry cereal can be handy options. Avoid spicy, intensely flavored, high fat and high temperature foods as the aroma can make nausea worse. 

Second Trimester:

In the second trimester, most women find their nausea is reducing so it can become easier to eat more regularly and choose healthier options. In the second trimester, be mindful of:

  • Staying hydrated: increasing your water intake can help ensure all your body functions are operating properly, as well as helping to form the amniotic fluid in the sac. Staying hydrated helps your digestive system. I like to recommend to my clients to drink at least half of their bodyweight in ounces of water eat day. You may also need more water if you are sweating a lot or take any meds that  make you urinate more frequently.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: our body’s need to have omega 3’s daily. This helps with lowering inflammation and supports eyes, brain, heart and immune system development. Taking omega 3’s may also prevent early labor and reduce the chance of having postpartum depression. You can find omega 3’s in flaxseeds, wild caught fatty fish like salmon, and chia seeds.
  • Vitamin D: this vitamin is important for aiding absorption of calcium, an important nutrient for bone and teeth health. The body can make vitamin D when you are in natural sunlight, but if you can’t get outside, you can find vitamin D in supplements or in fortified foods like cereals and milk.

Third Trimester:

Labor is drawing near and your nutrition can help prepare your body and the baby for this event. Here’s the foods you can focus on:

  • Iron rich foods: iron is vital to oxygenation of the blood and to carry red blood cells to the baby. Since the birthing process may include a lot of blood being lost, ensuring your iron levels are consistent and high,  may help your recovery post-labor. You can get iron from red meat as well as plant foods like spinach and other dark leafy greens. To aid your absorption of iron from plant foods, pair these iron rich foods with a vitamin C rich food, such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, red bell peppers and carrots.
  • Healthy fats, such as those found in olive oil, avocados and nuts/seeds, can help you to feel full and help prep the body to make breast milk.
  • Reduce sodium and add in potassium: high salt intake may cause water retention, a common issue among women in their third trimester. Instead, aim to reduce added salt to your foods, and add in potassium rich foods. Potassium helps by eliminating any excess water being held onto in the body. Potassium rich foods include dark leafy greens, beetroot, green tea and fresh fruit.

Once the baby is born, and especially when you’re breastfeeding, your nutrition needs can change too! 

Nutrition Support

Stay tuned for my next blog post all about what to eat when you’re breastfeeding!

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