In most of my labor and childbirth classes at Healthy Mother, moms- to-be are concerned about whether their baby is getting sufficient nutrition from their diet alone. At the same time, some of you are concerned about excessive weight gain during pregnancy. Both of these concerns can be taken care of, if you follow a well- balanced diet everyday.
As your baby’s nutritional needs increase during the final growth spurt of the last trimester, you may be more at risk for developing nutritional deficiencies. Since nature intends that your baby’s extra nutritional needs are met before your own, you have to make sure that whatever food you eat is nutritious, and at the same time, provides the extra calories that you need. Also, the baby gains maximum immunities from the mother in the last trimester, so eating healthy will also lay the foundation for your baby’s good health in the long run.
In the last trimester, including sources of calcium and B vitamins in your diet becomes very important. Some good sources of vitamins B6 and B12 are:
Fortified bread ( I find that “7-Must” bread available in most Indian stores is a good source)
Baked potato (with skin)
Bananas, prune juice, carrot juice
Nuts (and peanut butter, for those who like its taste)
Fortified cereals are a great source of B-Vitamins. For those of you, who are concerned about excess weight gain, try a low-fat cereal (such as Kellogg’s Special K) with Slim Milk. This will give you the vitamins and calcium, minus the extra calories.
Eggs and dairy products
For non-vegetarians: beef, pork, lamb, fish and poultry can complement your food intake.
Some good sources of calcium are:
Dairy products. Yoghurt is an especially good source of calcium.
Paneer, soyabean and tofu
Almonds and other nuts
Figs (ripe or dried) are an excellent source of calcium.
Calcium is also present is small amounts in green leafy vegetables and oranges
In the last trimester, some of you may experience discomforts from bloating, constipation or heartburn. Eating foods rich in fiber, such as bran breakfast cereals, dried prunes, apples with skin, rice, whole wheat rotis, etc. can ease some of these discomforts. Also, eating small meals, at regular intervals, can help ease heartburn.
In the end, focus on getting servings from all food groups. One way of looking at good nutrition is by “Making your plate as colorful as possible”. By all means, grab those occasional French Fries if you crave for it. However, the best way to ensure that you don’t put on too much weight while you are pregnant is by eating sensibly and by keeping as active as possible.
As always, do write in your thoughts, queries and concerns.