Fifth Month of Pregnancy Diet (17-20 Weeks)

A 5-month pregnant woman in a pink dress

Almost every woman looks forward to being a mother and pregnancy is only the beginning of the great adventure. It is during this time that a woman needs to be very cautious and strict with her diet. During your fifth month, you will need to consume at least 347 extra calories per day and gain about one or two pounds of weight. These calories should come from protein and calcium sources. Do everything you can to avoid getting them from fatty additives, sugar and carbohydrates.

What to Eat in the Fifth Month of Pregnancy?

A pregnant woman eating a healthy meal while sitting on the couch

Here we have listed some foods that you should include in your 5-month pregnancy diet chart:

1. Protein Rich Food

Foods rich in protein ensure that your baby’s physical development is going smoothly as the amino acids in protein are the building blocks of the body. Pulses, cereals, seeds and nuts, chickpeas, cottage cheese and tofu, are some foods that are good sources of protein for you and make great 5 month pregnancy food.

2. Whole Grains

These are very rich in magnesium, iron, vitamin E and Vitamin B complex. Whole grains consist of all three parts of the grain, which are the endosperm, bran and germ. Breakfast cereals, atta flour, bread and so many other things are made from whole grains.

3. Calcium Rich

We all know that calcium is good for our bones and teeth and it is no different for your developing baby. Make sure to intake plenty of calcium to ensure a strong skeletal system for your child. Fruits like kiwi, mulberries, dried figs and dates are rich in calcium.

4. High Fiber

Constipation is a well-known problem during pregnancy. Foods rich in fibre are the best way to reduce the chances of it happening. Fruits and vegetables, barley, oats, wheat and nuts are some foods that are rich in fibre.

5. Eat Lots of Salad

Get into the habit of eating salads if you don’t already. You can get quite creative with salads, and they are a great way to get the essential nutrients, minerals and fibres your body will need. Avoid using salad dressings and pickled vegetables, however, as these are high in sodium content.

6. Eat Lots of Fruits

Apples, grapes, bananas, avocados, pears, oranges, peaches and so many more! There are so many fruits to choose from that it can be so difficult to get bored of them. They are also high in minerals and vitamins, and it is an important food to eat during the second trimester of pregnancy.

7. Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated has so many benefits to the human body and during pregnancy is all the more important. It keeps constipation and urinary tract infection at bay, two common problems faced by pregnant women. Drinking a lot of fluids also helps to detoxify your body. If you are someone who doesn’t like to drink plain water, drink fresh juices like sugarcane and mango which contain healthy carbohydrates and fibre.

What Not to Eat during the Fifth Month of Pregnancy?

Though you may have cravings, here are some things that you should stay clear of during your pregnancy:

1. Carbonated Drinks

Fizzy drinks have a lot of unhealthy calories, sugar and caffeine. Ditch these for some fresh fruit juices or stick to fresh lime water.

2. Certain Fruits and Vegetables

Avoid fruits such as pineapples, pomegranates and papayas, which are known to cause uterine contractions which lead to miscarriages. It is best to also avoid black grapes as they build up the heat in your body, which can be harmful to your baby.
Vegetables like cabbage and lettuce are known to carry foodborne illnesses, while eggplant is known to stimulate menses which may cause abortions in pregnancies.

3. Caffeine

Too much caffeine during pregnancy causes restlessness and sleeplessness in babies after they are born. Tea, coffee and chocolate contain caffeine and so it is best to avoid it altogether, but if you are someone who feels you really cannot go without, reduce the quantity to a maximum of two cups per day.

4. Smoked and Raw Seafood

If you love sushi and sashimi, it is time to take a break. Smoked seafood most often contains bacteria called “Listeria monocytogenes bacteria” which causes listeriosis, leading to stillbirths, miscarriages or illnesses in newborns.

5. Fish Containing Mercury

Mercury is something that is found in the ocean, streams and lakes. It converts into methylmercury inside the human body, which is a neurotoxin and may cause brain damage and developmental delays in infants. Fish like shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish are some fish to avoid. Go for salmon or light meat tuna.

6. Raw Or Undercooked Eggs and Meat

Unless you are vegan, eggs and meat are bound to be a huge part of your diet. Make sure you never have any raw eggs or meat and that they are always well-cooked.
Raw eggs contain bacteria called “salmonella” which causes food poisoning. While your bout of food poisoning may not harm your baby, your immune system will be weakened, and that can have a negative impact on your baby’s development.
Raw meat contains the toxoplasma parasite which can lead to fetal death during delivery or miscarriages during pregnancy.

7. Herbal Teas and Supplements

There are certain herbal ingredients that are used in tea, seasonings or supplements which could be very harmful to mother and child. Ingredients such as kava kava, angelica, mugwort, black and blue cohosh and others act as uterine stimulants and should be avoided completely.
Herbs such as black walnut, fenugreek, horsetail, liquorice root senna, wormwood and others can cause miscarriages. Other herbs such as ginseng, aloe and primrose are also not safe to consume.

Diet Tips for a 5-Month Pregnant Women

Here are some tips for maintaining a balanced diet during this crucial time of your life:

  • Research the nutrition content of the food that you eat on a daily basis and try to work out how much you need to consume every day and what part of your diet needs to be changed if any.
  • Set up a meal plan for yourself to ensure your body is getting the right amount of nutrients that it requires to grow your baby.
  • Consult with your doctor about any food items in your meal plan that you may be allergic to and what you can substitute it with.
  • Eat less quantity in one sitting and more frequently throughout the day.
  • Choose dried fruits, nuts and seeds if you feel the need to munch on something. You can also have baby carrots and other vegetables as snacks between meals.
  • Your height and weight before pregnancy will be important when it comes to how much of each food group you need to eat in order to maintain a healthy and balanced diet. For this, it is always best to get the advice of your doctor or a nutritionist.

It may be difficult to suppress some of the cravings that you may get for good old street food every now and then, but try not to indulge for the sake of your baby. In fact, try to keep all your unhealthy food cravings under control or substitute them with the healthy food that will be beneficial for both you and your baby. What you consume will have a direct impact on not just you, but also your baby. Nothing is more important than the health and safety of your baby so always remain aware and cautious of what you are consuming.