Pregnancy Diet for Fourth Month (13-16 Weeks)
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The fourth month of pregnancy is a time when the unpleasant side-effects of pregnancy, such as headaches, morning sickness, and mood swings, disappear. You may not feel strong food aversions after the first trimester, and you may have certain food cravings. The second trimester is regarded as the most comfortable of the three trimesters. This is also the period when your baby grows the most and your blood volume increases so that the baby can get nourishment from the nutrients absorbed by your blood. Hence, your diet during the fourth month of pregnancy should include all the nutrients that are required for the baby’s growth and development.
What Are the Nutritional Needs During 4th Month of Pregnancy?
The second trimester marks the period of maximum development of the baby. The physical form is almost complete, and the baby’s organs are almost fully functional. During this time, the main focus is strength, as you want the baby’s bones to be strong and support proper functioning of the organs. As a mother-to-be, your doctor will amp up your calcium and protein intake, along with other nutrients like Vitamin D. Following a strong pregnancy diet with nutritious food for 4th month of pregnancy will help the foetus grow in height and weight.
What to Include in Your Fourth-Month Pregnancy Diet
It is important to plan what to eat during the second trimester of pregnancy. Your fourth-month pregnancy diet chart should include the following:
1. Iron-Rich Foods
As your blood volume increases in the fourth month, you should include iron-rich foods to meet the higher level of iron requirement. Examples of iron-rich foods are meat, fish, tofu, liver, soybeans, whole grains like brown rice, nuts and seeds, dark green leafy vegetables like kale and spinach, dried fruits, and eggs.
2. Fibre-Rich Foods
In the fourth month of pregnancy, the hormone progesterone slows down digestion. Your uterus starts to grow in size to accommodate your growing baby. This causes constipation. To prevent constipation and stimulate regular bowel movements, you should eat foods rich in fibre. Examples include whole grains like oatmeal, bran, and barley, seeds like flaxseeds and chia, nuts like almonds, pecans, and pistachios, vegetables like Brussels sprouts, broccoli, sweet corn, artichokes, and green peas, and fruits like raspberries, strawberries, figs, apples, bananas, and pears.
3. Calcium-Rich Foods
4. Foods Rich in Zinc and Vitamin C
Zinc is a trace element essential for building proteins, and the development of a healthy nervous system and immune system. Foods rich in zinc include oysters, lamb, beef, spinach, wheat germ, mushrooms, pumpkin and squash seeds, nuts, chicken, and beans. Vitamin C is essential for the absorption of iron in the body. Foods rich in Vitamin C are green and red peppers, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, and leafy greens.
5. Foods Rich in Omega Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for eye and brain development in the foetus. Omega-6 fatty acids are important for heart health, proper functioning of the reproductive system, and skin, hair, and bone growth. Foods rich in omega fatty acids include vegetable oils, salmon, sardines, soybeans, nuts like walnuts and almonds, and seeds like chia and flax.
6. Fruits and Vegetables
It is important to include at least five portions of fruits and vegetables per day. Fresh produce has the highest level of nutrients, followed by frozen produce. You should also include some raw vegetables in the form of a salad. Fresh fruit is healthier than fruit juices.
7. Proteins and Carbohydrates
Proteins are the building blocks of muscles, tissues, and DNA. Carbohydrates are the energy source for our body. Include adequate amounts of proteins and starchy carbohydrates in your diet. Examples of proteins are legumes, lentils, nuts, seeds, nut butter, meat, chicken, quinoa, and soybeans. Examples of starchy carbohydrates are potatoes, rice, pasta and bread. An Indian diet during the pregnancy’s fourth month should, therefore, include dal, whole wheat roti, porridge made from ragi, oats or dalia, dosa, chana (chickpeas) and rajma (kidney beans).
8. Foods Rich in Folic Acid
Your body needs extra blood during pregnancy, and folic acid helps with just that. Research has shown that almost 70% of neural tube defects can be prevented by consuming folic acid. Most prenatal vitamins contain folic acid, but you can also get your daily requirement through food. Some foods rich in this essential nutrient are lentils, green leafy vegetables, beans, and nuts.
9. Vitamin D-Rich foods
Vitamin D is necessary for calcium absorption in the bones, which is needed for the baby to develop strong bones and teeth. It also helps maintain healthy skin and eyesight. Milk and fatty fish like salmon are good sources of Vitamin D, along with sunlight, of course.
10. Lots of Water
Staying hydrated is of utmost importance during this time, as your diet will include plenty of proteins, vitamins, and minerals to aid in the baby’s growth and development. Apart from water, you can also drink vegetable and fruit juices, milkshakes, and foods with a high water content.
Fourth Month of Pregnancy – What to Avoid?
There are some foods which may harm the baby if eaten during pregnancy. Here is a list of foods to avoid during the fourth month of pregnancy:
Consuming excessive amounts of black liquorice during pregnancy has been linked to lower IQ in babies. Liquorice also contains chemicals that can trigger uterine contractions, causing preterm labour. Hence, it is best to avoid foods containing liquorice.
2. Refined Flour
Refined flour, known as maida in India, is difficult to digest and can cause constipation and even lead to haemorrhoids post-delivery. It also spikes up blood sugar levels, as it has a high glycaemic index. This can lead to gestational diabetes, which is harmful to both the mother and baby. Stick to whole-wheat foods and avoid refined flour.
3. Ocean Fish
Ocean fish like white tuna, king mackerel, and swordfish contain high levels of mercury. Mercury can cause brain damage in the foetus and has been linked to mental retardation in babies. So, avoid ocean fish and stick to freshwater fish like salmon or trout.
4. Blue Cheese
Blue cheese like Camembert and soft cheeses like Brie may contain microorganisms like bacteria or listeria that can cause food poisoning in the mother. This will affect the baby’s health and development. So, avoid blue cheese and soft cheeses, and eat only hard cheeses like Parmesan or Cheddar.
5. Raw Eggs and Undercooked Meat
Raw eggs may contain salmonella bacteria that can cause salmonellosis, a kind of food poisoning. This can harm the baby. So, eat only cooked eggs. Undercooked meat can also cause salmonella poisoning, so make sure all the meat you consume is thoroughly cooked.
Pâté is a mixture of cooked ground meat and fat in the form of a spreadable paste. Any type of pâté has a risk of listeria infection. Hence, it is better to avoid pâté during pregnancy.
Excess consumption of caffeine increases your heart rate and also causes nervousness, irritability and sleeplessness. It can be harmful to the baby and has also been linked to miscarriages. Hence, it is better to limit caffeine intake to 200 milligrams per day.
8. Artificial Sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners are not harmful when consumed within a limit. However, try and substitute natural sweeteners such as honey, dates, or maple syrup whenever possible.
Salt retains water in the body and causes bloating and increases blood pressure. Hence, consume salt in moderation. Try and use low-sodium salt, which is much healthier.
10. Junk Food
Junk food contains plenty of oil, unhealthy fats, and refined flour, all of which are unhealthy during this time. It may also contain preservatives, as there is no method of moderation if you’re eating out. Apart from proving unhealthy for both you and the baby, too much oil can cause acid reflux and nausea, both of which will worsen your pregnancy experience.
11. Excessive Amounts of Dry Fruits
Dry fruits contain heat, so it’s important to restrict your consumption to no more than 8-10 pieces per day. Too many dry fruits will make you feel warmer and may also cause untimely contractions.
Diet Tips for the Fourth Month
Here are some diet tips to follow during the fourth month of pregnancy:
- Drink enough water. A pregnant woman, on average, requires around 2.3 litres of water per day.
- Avoid eating excessive quantities of fried food, spicy food or food containing high amounts of salt or sugar.
- Ground flax seeds can be sprinkled over your salads or in oatmeal, yoghurt, etc. They are a great source of dietary fibre and omega-3 fatty acids.
- Do not eat too many sweets, as it will lead to gestational diabetes and unnecessary weight gain.
- Avoid having tea or coffee with meals and iron supplements, as the tannins present in them can prevent iron from being absorbed by the body.
- Make sure fruits and vegetables are thoroughly washed to remove germs, soil and pesticide residues.
4th-Month Pregnancy Recommended Indian Diet Sample
Growth and nourishment are crucial during the fourth month of pregnancy, so it’s essential that you eat well-balanced meals. Here is a recommended diet plan that you can follow to ensure you and the baby are getting your fill of nutrients.
A good pre-breakfast isn’t meant to fill you up, but rather get your system up and running for the day. You can choose any of the following.
- 8-10 pieces of dry fruits (walnuts, almonds, etc.)
- 1 glass of banana milkshake
- 1 banana
- 1 glass of sattu
- 1 cup of makhana
Breakfast sets the tone for the day, and gives you much-needed energy for the first half. Here are some hearty breakfast options.
- 3 moong dal chillas
- 1.5 cups of dalia porridge
- 2 whole wheat sandwiches with vegetables / egg
- 1.5 cups of sabudana khichdi
- 3-4 medium-sized idlis with chutney
- 2 fried eggs with whole wheat toast
- 2 medium-sized aloo parathas with curd
- 2 besan chillas with curd
- 1.5 cups of upma
- 2-3 medium-sized dosas with chutney
- 1.5 cups of poha
- 2-3 medium-sized pesarattu with chutney
- 2 mixed sprouts rolls
- 3 medium-sized methi parathas with curd
Having a well-balanced lunch will provide you with the nutrients and energy you require. Choose from any of the below lunch combinations.
- 1 cup of soya sabji + 2 rotis + 1 cup of curd
- 1 grilled chicken breast + 1 cup of brown rice + 1 cup of boiled vegetables
- 2 cups of vegetable pulao + 1 cup of raita
- 1 cup of brown rice + 1 cup of dal + cucumber
- 1 cup of bhindi sabji + 1 cup of dal + 2 rotis
- 1 grilled fish filet + 1 cup of brown rice + 1 cup of boiled vegetables
- 1 cup of biryani + 1 cup of dal + cucumber
- 1 cup of paneer curry + 1 cup of brown rice + 1 cup of curd
- 1 cup of sweet potato (boiled / sabji) + 2 rotis + 1 cup of raita
- 1 cup of kala channa curry + 1 cup of brown rice + cucumber
- 2 cups of grilled vegetables + 1 cup of masoor dal + 1 cup of brown rice
- 1 cup of mixed dal + 2 rotis + 1 cup of brinjal sabji
- 1 cup of rajma + 1 cup of brown rice + cucumber and onion salad
- 1 cup of chicken/ mutton/ fish curry + 2 rotis + 1 cup of curd
Keep your dinner light, and try to eat as early as possible so the food gets some time to digest before you sleep. Here are some light dinner options you can pick from.
- 1 cup of sabji + 2 rotis
- 1.5 cups of vegetable khichdi/ pulao + 1 cup of curd
- 1 grilled chicken breast/ fish filet + 1 cup of boiled vegetables
- 1-2 medium-sized parathas + 1 cup of raita
1. Which Fruits to Eat in Fourth Month of Pregnancy?
In general, fruits have a great water, fibre, and vitamin content, so you can pick your favourites. You can eat plenty of seasonal fruits such as strawberries or chikoo. Additionally, apples, bananas, etc. provide a host of nutrients to both of you the baby. Avoid eating raw papayas, pineapples, and grapes.
2. How Much Weight is Recommended in the 4th Month Of Pregnancy?
There is no exact number, as the amount of weight gain depends on several factors. On average, you should gain approximately 0.5 kgs every week in the second trimester of pregnancy.
3. What Is the Reason For Always Being Hungry When 4 Months Pregnant?
The second trimester of pregnancy focuses on building your baby’s strength, weight, and height, which means your body will demand more energy from you. Since the energy from your food is spent fast, you may feel hungry more often. Make sure to snack through the day.
4. Can I Feel My Baby During 4 Month of Pregnancy?
In the 4th month of pregnancy, you may feel your baby moving inside you. These movements are called ‘quickening‘, and feel like butterflies fluttering in your tummy. Take your time and enjoy this sensation, as you know your baby is well cared for.
The fourth month of pregnancy is a comfortable time for the mother-to-be. Regular exercise, healthy food, and remaining stress-free and calm at this time will ensure that your baby is healthy. Make sure you consult your doctor for advice before making any changes in your diet.
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