Each trimester comes with new and exciting challenges for mama-to-be and baby. If this is your first pregnancy, you may be worrying over what to eat. Rest assured, as long as you’re eating a well rounded diet throughout the entire pregnancy, you are doing excellent things for you and baby. Each trimester baby is growing and changing dramatically and they need certain foods to insure proper growth and development. A well balanced diet is essential for each trimester; however, below is a list of key nutrients to focus on during each trimester.
Vitamins are super important during the first trimester. It’s not necessary to focus on one in particular but rather them all as a whole. Baby’s tiny organs and limbs need vitamins in order to form. Thanks to B vitamins, baby’s spinal cord is formed around weeks four. By six weeks, baby has buds for arms and legs and the beginnings of every major organ. Organs and limbs depend on vitamin A, which is found in foods such as carrots, sweet potatoes, dark leafy greens, and peaches.
Focus on micronutrients more so than macronutrients. Click here to learn more about the difference in micronutrients and macros. The first trimester doesn’t require any extra calories, so eat when you are hungry and eat quality foods. Skipping junk food is important as well, since it can deplete your body of essential nutrients needed for baby’s growth. Refined flours, sugars, and processed foods don’t provide the essential nutrients needed.
Calcium and protein play major roles in the second trimester. Baby’s muscle and bones are developing rapidly. By the end of month six, baby’s skeleton is fully formed thanks to calcium. Baby’s skin, muscle, and fingernails are made of protein. Protein is important to consume daily, for both mom and baby, since mom doesn’t store it in the body. Omega-3 fats are also important for baby’s brain development, so grass fed beef and wild salmon are excellent sources.
Examples of foods high in calcium
Examples of foods high in protein
- Lean meats and poultry
During the third trimester, baby is going through rapid growth and changes so they are ready to greet loved ones on the outside. Iron and protein are important for baby and mama to help maintain increased blood volume and a healthy placenta. Baby’s bones become more dense and developed during this time, so calcium is still really important.
Essential fatty acids, like omega-3, play the largest role during this time. Baby is putting on subcutaneous fat during these last few months. Fat plays three major roles for baby when they leave the mom. The first is used as an energy reserve incase mom’s milk takes a while to come in. Secondly, fat insulates the baby’s body. Lastly, special fat, called brown fat rapidly produces heat, which keeps baby warm. Baby’s brain grows exponentially during the third trimester and needs EPA and DHA to help during this growth. Also, mom stores fat to help with the preparation for breastfeed. Fatty Fish such as mackerel or salmon are amazing sources of omega-3 fats.
Creating a baby is hard work and the last thing a mom wants to worry about is food. As long as your diet consists of a wide variety of healthy foods, your baby will grow and thrive. Eating a variety of foods from each food group- fruits, vegetables, grains, meats, dairy- will provide the total nutrients mom and baby need throughout the entire pregnancy.