DIET & PREGNANCY
Discover the best foods to eat in each trimester of pregnancy
During trimester one, just getting through a whole day’s work is a struggle. Not to mention juggling medical appointments, fitting in your daily sweat session, keeping up with the family and trying to maintain some sort of social life. Your life is as busy as ever but suddenly your energy levels have plummeted, right when you need them the most! Sound familiar? Well, you’re not alone. THE FIRST TRIMESTER
Getting the right nutrition during the first trimester of pregnancy is crucial. Not only does it keep your energy levels up but also ensure your baby gets the nutrients he or she needs, to promote ongoing growth and development.
Knowing what to eat during your pregnancy to ensure you’re covering all bases can be confusing, with so many different health professionals involved in your care. Your experienced friends share their advice, not to mention the overwhelming amount of information available online and through social media platforms.
The good old ‘eating for two’ mantra can’t be the basis for all your food decisions throughout the entire nine months. You might be interested (or even disappointed) to know that your calorie requirements don’t actually increase at all during your first trimester of pregnancy. General healthy eating guidelines still apply in this period, so making sure you include a variety of foods from all five food groups, choosing low GI carbohydrates, lean meats and healthy fats is key.
Whilst extra calories might not be important, specific nutrients are. Minerals including folate, zinc, iron and omega-3 fatty acids as well as getting enough fibre and fluid should be a priority. Choosing grainy breads and cereals, lean red meat and skinless chicken, grilled salmon and healthy oils such as olive oil, will help meet your nutrient needs. Fresh fruit and veggies in conjunction with plenty of water will also help to keep your bowels regular as well.
THE SECOND TRIMESTER
For some women the second trimester may be somewhat more enjoyable then trimester one. You baby bump might be starting to show and that nausea and morning sickness should have started to ease. The good news keeps on coming. In trimester two, your calorie requirements are higher than usual.
You should be aiming to increase your intake by about 600-1400 kilojoules per day depending upon how much weight you need to gain. This is equivalent to about two extra snacks each day. So, adding two extra serves of foods like a yogurt, vita-wheats and cheese, a slice of peanut butter on multi-grain toast, some fresh fruit or a handful of nuts, will help to provide you with the additional highquality calories that you need. Basing your snacks around wholegrain foods each day, will also make sure you’re getting enough folate and iodine, which are key nutrients required for this stage of development.
THE THIRD TRIMESTER
Additional calories are needed during the third trimester to ensure ongoing high-quality nutrition. In trimester three, your baby is growing the most rapidly, so ensuring you are still getting adequate calories to support growth of the baby is important. Focusing on a high intake of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids from foods like oily fish and nuts will support brain development. Including a range of citrus fruits and green leafy vegetables will make sure you’re getting enough vitamin C, which also helps to boost your absorption of iron.
Knowing what to eat during your pregnancy and actually doing it are two different things. You may have the best intentions for a well-balanced diet. Finding the best diet during pregnancy can be tricky and time consuming. So, to get you going in the right direction you can download your free pregnancy
meal plan to make sure you’re ticking all the right boxes for you and baby.
Melanie McGrice is an Advanced Accredited Practicing Dietitian and is the director of Nutrition Plus, a dietetic practice based in Melbourne, Australia. Melanie is a highly respected nutrition blogger, journalist and media personality, and is regularly invited to consult to the media on a range of nutrition & dietary topics. Melanie is the author of ‘The Pregnancy Weight Plan’ and may be contacted via her website.