Now that you’ve read part one of The Pregnancy Diet, which covered the basics of the first trimester, here’s what you need to know about nutrition habits for the remainder of your pregnancy.
This is the time to increase calories, 200-300 each day. For many women, glucose intolerance increases as pregnancy evolves. Because of the body’s inability to process sugars, they’re best avoided. For some women, this includes most carbohydrates even if they come from whole foods.
Calcium and magnesium should also be increased to about 1200 milligrams. Increase your protein by 10 grams a day above the first trimester level, and do the same with your essential fatty acid intake. If you’re taking flax oil, increase this to two to three teaspoons. Continue your intake of foods that supply at least 85 milligrams of vitamin C a day.
It’s important to have your iron monitored at this time as most women become anemic. If you feel fatigued or excessively tired it may be due to much of your blood going into the placenta and your iron stores are probably low. At this point in your pregnancy you may need to supplement iron, but make sure to discuss with your health care provider.
During the second trimester some women are at risk for preeclampsia, which can be diagnosed at 20 weeks with high blood pressure and protein in the urine. Delivery is the only cure for preeclampsia. Eating a healthy diet of whole foods with adequate iron and protein before and throughout your pregnancy is believed to aid in preventing this condition.
Toward the end of your pregnancy, as the baby is pushing against your internal organs, stomach and abdomen, the need for nutrition is great but there’s less room. Your caloric intake should increase to 300-400 calories per day. The average for most women in the third trimester is around 2,400 to 2,600 total calories per day.
Every piece of food you put into your mouth should be highly nutritious, as this is the time when the stress on your body is the greatest. Eating small, frequent meals and drinking herbal teas can help you get consistent nutrition throughout the day. During this time there’s another growth spurt as the baby’s brain and central nervous system are developing rapidly. So the need for protein is high and an adding 10 more grams a day above the second trimester level is beneficial.
Calcium should also be increased to an extra 1600 milligrams, and magnesium should increase to 320 milligrams. Essential fatty acids should be increased. If you’re taking flax oil, increase your intake to three to four teaspoons daily. Continue to consume foods high in vitamin C and bioflavonoids, as both support the health of your veins and capillaries, which help the wear and tear on your body, carrying an substantial load by the third trimester.
Overall, having an active lifestyle during pregnancy is highly important. Studies show the intensity of your physical activity isn’t as important as consistency to be effective. Daily exercise is also believed to play a large part in preventing gestational diabetes. Thirty minutes each day minimum is appropriate for most women. A healthy lifestyle also means avoiding environmental and emotional toxins. Working toward a positive attitude and lowering unnecessary stresses during your pregnancy can have a real effect on a healthy pregnancy and increase your enjoyment of this very important time.