You are pregnant and you must be eagerly waiting for your precious babe to be born. Proper diet and regular exercise are key to your wellbeing, and at no other time in your life are these as crucial as during pregnancy.
All you need to think about through the three trimesters is being happy and healthy. You are eating for two, and understandably, you want to be careful with what you eat because it will have an impact not only on you but also on your unborn child.
Your growing baby needs all the proper nutrients you can provide to grow into a strong and healthy baby.
It is natural to feel some uncertainty, and be worried that what you know and what you are doing will not be enough.
Well, you need not worry. So long as you are fully committed, eating well when you’re pregnant does not need to be difficult.
The benefits of healthy diet for mom and baby
A nutritious pregnancy diet makes for a stronger immune system for moms-to-be, as she goes to physiological changes herself. It also reduces the risk of diseases, birth defects, and pregnancy complications.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet and getting plenty of rest during pregnancy have been linked to baby’s positive brain development and a healthy birth weight, and can help improve labor and delivery, according to Healthline.
‘Infanticipating’ women need to be particularly careful and smart about their food choices because they are eating not only for their own, but also for their baby’s health.
During pregnancy and when lactating, moms have increased nutritional needs, and require more of certain nutrients like protein, iron, folic acid, iodine, and calcium.(1)
According to a study on the impact of dietary change during pregnancy by Forbes, et. al. (2018), expecting moms need optimal amounts of energy, with all the hormonal changes the body is going through.
Keeping a wholesome, nutritious, pregnancy-specific, food recommendations will keep your energy up, and your body and system in tip-top shape, with just an appropriate weight gain.
Essential vitamins and nutrients for your developing baby include vitamins A, B6, and C, fiber, and an adequate amount of protein and fat, the New Jersey Perinatal Associates (NJPA) explains. Calcium, for example, supports the development of strong bones and teeth for both mom and her baby.
You need plenty of protein during pregnancy because it promotes fetal tissue development, including the proper growth of your unborn baby’s brain, according to the American Pregnancy Association.
Folate in fruits and grain products helps maintain the growth and development of the fetus, especially helping form the neural tube and helping prevent some major birth defects such as anencephaly (brain) and spina bifida (spine). Iron boosts the formation of red blood cells, which carries oxygen to all parts of the body.
Here are some ideas to help you eat healthy all through the three trimesters. This special meal planner features a variety of delicious, easy-to-make snacks and dishes to try for every stage of pregnancy.
Meal Planner: First Trimester
The idea is to give you the freedom to choose a different meal and snack for each day of the week. The first trimester requires nutrient-dense foods that give you double the nutrient value, but not too much calories (which you do not need at this time).
Food choices rich in folate and iron are top priority, therefore veggies and fruits are in. Stow away the sugar jar and ditch refined foods. You will also need food that contain vitamin B6 to help with the occasional nausea, and vitamin C to keep illness at bay.
Don’t forget to drink lots of water, and throw in some fresh fruits, cucumber, lemon or mint just to liven up your palate. Take the sample meal planner, and experiment and swap with variants that offer similar nutrients.
Doctors advise expecting moms to steer away from unpasteurised soft cheeses and fruit juices, ‘runny’ eggs or raw eggs, mayonnaise or some dressings, certain cold meats, undercooked or raw meats and fish, fish containing excess mercury, such as tuna or swordfish, and anything that could pose a health problem to the unborn baby. Consider pasteurized hard or firm cheese such as cheddar, swiss, gouda, Emmental and parmesan.
Peachy Crunchy Yoghurt
Start off the day with this simple concoction: cut up fresh peaches, and dabble non-fat peach yogurt mixed with Enfamama A+ milk for your protein and calcium fix. Mix in 2 tsp flax seeds and 1 tbsp granola. Stir, chill if you may, and enjoy!
Colorful Crab Salad Sandwich
This tasty seafood is not off-limits during your pregnancy. Mix 6 ounces of crab meat with 2 tablespoons light mayonnaise, 1/4 cup shredded carrots, 1/4 cup diced celery and 1 tablespoon chopped red onion, and simply spread this safe crab mixture onto a slice of whole wheat bread, top with a second slice, and you have the most amazing preggo lunch or dinner. It will be great with a side of chopped red onion in olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Meal Planner: Second Trimester
The second trimester calls for dishes that are rich in calcium and vitamin D, which will help your baby grow strong bones and teeth, and omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for your baby’s brain development.
Betacarotene is a safe form of vitamin A for you in pregnancy. You will also be needing more calories at this time, according to health.gov, ideally aiming at eating at least 300 calories a day. Almonds are a great source of energy for you, now that your baby is growing even bigger in your tummy.
It is especially important to take a prenatal multivitamin at this time to ensure you’re meeting all your vitamin and mineral requisites at this stage of your pregnancy.’
Cranberry and soft cheese wrap with watercress
Watercress and cranberries are excellent sources of vitamin C. Just mix a handful of dried cranberries, 2 tbsps low-fat cream cheese and 2 tbsps Enfamama A+ milk together, then spread over a multigrain tortilla wrap.
Arrange a handful of watercress on top, roll up and serve with the cherry tomatoes on the side, and a glass of cranberry juice.
Chicken Korma with Steamed Rice
This one is the easy-to-make and not-too-spicy version of Chicken Korma, which is perfect even for children and preggo moms.
Cook onions in olive oil on a low heat until soft but not brown. Add chunks of chicken and cook for 5 minutes in medium heat until golden brown, stirring occasionally.
Turn the heat down and add the grated ginger and garlic together with the turmeric and garam masala. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add about ¾ cup coconut milk, bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. If you find the curry becomes too dry you can add the rest of the coconut milk.
After 10 minutes, add the ground almonds and chopped coriander and cook for 1 more minute, then serve with rice and garnish with a little more chopped coriander.
Sweet Apple Lamb
This simple lamb dish provides essential iron and beta-carotene for pregnant moms and their babies. Gently brown the lamb in a large saucepan, stirring in the onion and garlic after a few minutes.
Continue to cook until the lamb is browned all over and the onion is soft. Stir in the cumin, sweet potato, celeriac and cooking apple and cook gently for another few minutes.
Add the thyme and water, and bring to the boil slowly. Stir, cover and cook over a low heat for 30 minutes to 40 minutes, until the vegetables are soft, adding more water if necessary.
Serve the lamb with rice, couscous or mashed potato, and a green vegetable, such as broccoli or green beans.
Meal Planner: Third Trimester
The third trimester is a special time to eat more energy-boosting meals that would help you stay upright and strong for the big day. You will also need food rich in vitamin K, which is essential for helping your body heal well after your delivery.
Staples at this time would be lentils (rich in fibre and proteins), fruits like guava, apples, oranges, kiwi and melons (for energy and vitamins), dry fruits such as walnuts, almonds, raisins or even hazelnuts (rich in vitamins and fibre), avocado (rich in fibres, vitamin C, and vitamin E), fully cooked eggs (essential fats) and yoghurt (rich source of nutrients and healthy fats).
Preheat the oven to 180°C/ fan 160°C. Lightly butter and line a 18cm square tin with nonstick baking paper. Put 100g butter, 2 tbsp Muscovado sugar and 5 tbsp maple syrup into a saucepan over a low heat and stir until melted. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Place rolled oats, desiccated coconut, dried apricots, sultanas and dried cherries into a large bowl and stir to combine. Pour in the melted butter and sugar mix and mix well.
Tip into the prepared tin and press down using a potato masher to make the surface flat. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until just golden brown on top and firm to touch. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin.
Then using a sharp knife, cut up into smaller bars. (You can store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.) Best paired with a glass of Enfamama A+ milk.
Lamb and Mushroom Casserole
With 4 large lamb chops, trim off the excess fat and heat oil in frying pan to brown the chops. Place chops in casserole dish. Mix together a can of mushroom soup, 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, 3/4 cup chicken stock. Pour over chops.
Cover and bake for 1½ hours. Fry mushrooms, bacon and onions until browned and stir through casserole. Return to oven for 30 minutes.
Choosing the right milk supplement
You have increased nutritional needs in this crucial period to support both you and your developing baby. Choosing the right high quality milk supplement especially formulated for pregnant and lactating moms is your priority.
In a study by Brantsæter, et. al., highlighted the importance of including milk and dairy in maternal diet as a source of protein and other valuable nutrients(2). The extra calcium necessary in your diet during pregnancy, and the best source of this are dairy foods such as milk, cheese and yoghurt.
Pregnant women need five servings of dairy foods each day. A glass of milk, a carton of yoghurt (125g) or a matchbox-sized piece of cheese makes for one serving.
Mead Johnson Nutrition has designed the special formulation for Enfamama A+ with 360º DHA PLUS. Enfamama A+ has a unique blend and high level of DHA and Choline, two brain-boosting nutrients usually found in breastmilk.
It has 80% less fat, 52% higher DHA+ and 24% higher Choline+ to support increased nutritional needs during pregnancy. It is also packed with other essential nutrients which have been scientifically demonstrated to support healthy pregnancy and lactation, as well as fetal brain development, such as folic acid, iodine; iron, immunity-boosters such as vitamins A, B6, C, E and Zinc.
Unlock the world of Mama-privileges and benefits
And to make things even more special for you, glowing mom-to-be, Enfamama A+ Club Mama is here to support you in your pregnancy journey.
You can help build a strong foundation for your child, even before he or she is born. Join the Enfamama A+ Club Mama and unlock a world of privileges and exclusive member benefits.
You will get to be the first to know about promotions, access to limited and special member-only deals, get free samples and exclusive vouchers, and have access to more health information about pregnancy, childbirth, growth and development and parenting issues. The benefits are countless!
It could be such an endeavor to eat a nutritious diet and engage in moderate exercise while pregnant but it will surely be worth all the effort. Your vitamin supplement is especially important if you’re struggling with nausea and can’t keep anything down.
You also have to make sure you are eating full and complete meals each day, staying away from caffeine, and getting complete rest and sleep.
A high quality milk supplement, like Enfamama A+ should also be your nutrition partner throughout your 9-month journey because a healthy pregnancy will ensure a healthy baby and healthy you.
Knowing what’s best now for your pregnancy will help build a strong foundation for your precious little one, right from the very start.
(1) Forbes, L., Graham, J., Berglund, C. & Bell, R. (2018). Dietary Change during Pregnancy and Women’s Reasons for Change. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6115730/#:~:text=A%20healthy%2C%20balanced%20diet%20during,that%20occur%20in%20the%20mother.
(2) Brantsæter, A., Olafsdottir, A., Forsum, E., Olsen, S. & Thorsdottir, I. (2012). Does milk and dairy consumption during pregnancy influence fetal growth and infant birthweight? A systematic literature review. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3505908/.
ALSO READ: Real Stories: “I didn’t know I was pregnant until my seventh month.”