A balanced, wholesome diet is vital for creating and sustaining a healthy pregnancy. It also provides your baby with the nutrients necessary to grow, develop and thrive. Each week of the pregnancy calls for a diet that provides the nutritional needs of both you and baby.
Diet for Weeks 1 Through 9
During weeks one through nine, it would be best for you to focus on foods that support the nervous system, brain, spinal cord, heart, kidney, liver and all organ development in the embryo, and support your digestive system and beginning adjustments in your own organs. Include folic-acid-friendly foods, such as dark green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, whole grains and beans. Add other choices for overall healthy development, including oatmeal, soy or almond milk, organic chicken and tofu.
Diet for Weeks 10 Through 18
For weeks 10 through 18, continue the focus on the fetus’s heart, muscle and overall development. Supporting your own hormonal changes, and the possible complication of morning sickness, requires the same diet as for weeks 1 through 9, with increasing portions. Eat foods that are low in saturated fat and low sodium. Select broiled, baked and steamed cooking methods. Include green peas, spinach, asparagus, fatty fish, nuts and sea vegetables. Healthy weight gain is required, so eat to satisfaction.
For morning sickness, Dr. Oz recommends, “Eat whole grain crackers when you wake up, eat cold foods that have less aroma and are often more bland, drink ginger root tea.”
Diet for Weeks 19 Through 27
During weeks 19 through 27, your baby’s reproductive system and lungs further develop, while you may be noticing increased changes in your moods, hormones and the veins in your body, and you may experience constipation. Include more fiber-rich food, such as whole grains and low-glycemic fruits like pears and green apples.
Diet for Weeks 28 Through 40
Your baby’s body continues to strengthen during weeks 28 through 40. You may be experiencing leg cramps, hemorrhoids and digestive challenges. You can continue with the previous dietary suggestions throughout the pregnancy, as their nutritional support is still relevant. Eliminate hot, spicy and greasy food. Eat smaller, more frequent meals. If problems with digestion continue, add raw garlic, onions and parsley to increase the elasticity of your veins, and drink chamomile tea, if non-allergic, for relaxation.
For intestinal health, optimum function of organs and gentle detoxification, add non-dairy yogurt to your diet and include digestive enzyme support. You can drink fresh vegetable and fruit smoothies two or more times per week, and be sure to drink purified water every day — half of your body’s weight in ounces or up to one hundred ounces. Also check for any sensitivity to seafood before adding it to your pregnancy diet.
Heidi Murkoff of the website What to Expect states, “Of course, it’s the rare woman who will follow the Pregnancy Diet every day, week in and week out, for all 40 weeks of her pregnancy…Don’t stress about it, and don’t feel guilty about it — the diet is a framework for healthy eating.”