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The third month of pregnancy (9-12 weeks) can be a difficult time for the mother-to-be, as the morning sickness, fatigue, and mood swings increase tremendously. This is also the time when the most number of miscarriages have been reported. It is, therefore, very important for the mom-to-be to remain stress-free. She should also eat nutritious food to ensure the healthy growth and development of the baby. An expecting mother’s diet during the third month of pregnancy plays a crucial role in determining the health of the foetus.
3rd Month of Pregnancy Diet – What Foods to Eat
Your pregnancy diet in the first trimester should provide all the nutrition the foetus needs to grow into a healthy baby. Are you wondering what to eat during the 3rd month of pregnancy to have a healthy baby? Here is a list of foods you should include in your diet chart:
1. Vitamin B6-Rich Foods
In the third month, morning sickness may peak at week 9 and may start decreasing by the end of week 12. Vitamin B6 helps combat nausea and vomiting. Examples of vitamin B6-rich foods include lean meats, poultry, eggs, citrus fruits, legumes, soybeans, nuts, seeds, and avocados.
2. Folate-Rich Foods
Folate or folic acid is very important for the proper development of the baby’s brain and spinal cord. Even if you are taking folic acid supplements, it is good to include natural sources of folate-rich foods in your diet. Examples of folate-rich foods are broccoli, citrus fruits, beans, peas, lentils, avocado, Brussels sprouts, okra, asparagus, and dark green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale.
3. Omega-3-Rich Foods
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients that are necessary for the healthy development of the eyes and brain in the baby. Foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids are soybeans, canola oil, walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds, salmon, mackerel, sardines, and wild rice.
4. Fresh Fruits
Fruits contain a wide range of nutrients and antioxidants that are essential for the baby’s healthy growth and development. Fresh fruits are a better source of nutrients than fruit juices and canned or frozen fruit. Include plenty of muskmelon, avocados, pomegranate, bananas, guava, oranges, sweet limes, strawberries, and apples in your diet.
Healthy food for a 3-months-pregnant lady should include at least 3 cups of vegetables per day. Choose different coloured vegetables and mix them up to ensure you get a wide range of nutrients and tastes. Examples include kale, spinach, broccoli, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, pumpkin, bell peppers, corn, eggplant, cabbage, drumstick, etc.
Carbohydrates are an essential energy source for our bodies. Complex carbohydrates are found in foods like whole grains and legumes, and starchy vegetables like potatoes and sweet potatoes take longer to break down and metabolise in the body. This helps in providing steady amounts of energy. Simple carbohydrates from natural sources like fruits and vegetables that contain fibre are also good for your growing baby. Avoid simple carbs like refined flour and processed foods such as cookies and cakes. These are just empty calories that are bad for the baby.
Proteins are the building blocks of DNA, tissue, and muscles. They also play an important role in triggering enzymes in our body. Proteins are, therefore, essential for the proper development of the foetus. Examples of protein-rich foods include legumes, quinoa, seeds, lentils, chicken, nuts, nut butter, meat, and soybeans.
Dairy products are an excellent source of calcium, which is very important for the development of strong and healthy bones. Examples include milk, yoghurt, and hard cheeses. If you are allergic to dairy, other sources of calcium-rich foods are kale, watercress, and sardines.
9. Vitamin D
Vitamin D plays an important role in the development of the immune system, healthy teeth and bone development, and healthy cell division in the baby. Examples of vitamin D-rich foods are fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and tuna, egg yolk, cod liver oil, and vitamin D fortified milk or cereals.
Zinc is an essential mineral that is important for the development of a healthy immune system and nervous system. Foods rich in zinc include beef, spinach, wheat germ, mushrooms, oysters, lamb, pumpkin and squash seeds, chicken, nuts, and beans.
Foods to Avoid During the Third Month of Pregnancy
These are the foods that should be avoided in the third month of pregnancy:
Seafood and ocean fish contain high levels of methyl-mercury that cause impaired brain function in the foetus. So, avoid seafood and stick to freshwater fish.
2. Raw Eggs and Unpasteurised Dairy Products
Raw eggs can contain salmonella bacteria that can cause food poisoning. Unpasteurised dairy products like soft cheeses can contain listeria bacteria which also cause serious food poisoning. Hence, make sure that your eggs are cooked and that you stick to hard cheeses.
3. Raw or Undercooked Meats
Raw and undercooked meats can contain bacteria that cause food poisoning and serious damage to the growing baby.
4. Vitamin A
Excessive amounts of vitamin A have been linked to birth defects. Vitamin A found in natural foods like fruits, vegetables, eggs, and milk is not harmful. However, chicken, beef, and veal liver contain high amounts of vitamin A. It is better to avoid these to ensure you do not get too much vitamin A at once. Also, avoid taking vitamin A supplements.
Caffeine present in coffee, tea and aerated drinks can cross the placenta and cause an increased heart rate in the baby. So, it is better to limit or avoid caffeine.
6. Street Food
Eating street food increases the chances of getting bacterial infections such as gastroenteritis. Such infections will harm the developing baby. Hence, it is best to avoid it. If you happen to crave street food, try making the dish at home using fresh ingredients.
7. Canned Foods
Canned foods contain high amounts of preservatives which can harm foetal development. They also contain a chemical called bisphenol-A (BPA) which has been linked to an increased risk of miscarriages. Hence, avoid canned or tinned food and eat homemade food cooked with fresh produce.
3rd Month Pregnancy Diet Tips
- Stay Hydrated by drinking plenty of water. You can also have juices and soup, but water is best for hydration.
- Include at least 5 portions or servings of fruits and vegetables per day in your diet.
- Eat 5 to 6 healthy, smaller meals in a day rather than 3 large meals.
- Avoid alcohol, tobacco and drugs completely as these can cause serious birth defects and developmental issues in your baby.
- Take your doctor-prescribed nutritional supplements without fail.
- Avoid modifying your diet without checking with your doctor first.
The third month of pregnancy may be tough as nausea and vomiting may peak at this time. However, morning sickness starts to lessen by week 12 and is usually gone by the start of the second trimester. Follow the diet tips in this article to provide the necessary nutrition and encourage the healthy growth and development of your baby.
Resources and References: Healthline
Also Read: Protein Intake During Pregnancy