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Your Pregnancy Diet Trimester By Trimester: What You Should Know

Your Pregnancy Diet Trimester By Trimester: What You Should Know

Bamidele Wale-Oshinowo

Generally, most expectant mums don’t feel like cooking and some even abhor food due to nausea and other pregnancy related illnesses. However, just as it is important to eat to stay alive, you must eat the right foods to supply the additional nutrients you need to support your health and baby’s. The trick is to pick your diet from the five food groups.

Find tips for each trimester to guide you through the magical nine months…


During the first 12 weeks, most expectant mums are plagued with morning sickness. You can fight this by eating and snacking on starchy foods like potatoes, bread, rice, oatmeal, plain biscuits (crackers), as well as ginger tea. Minimize the consumption of fatty foods, and as much as possible, use fresh ginger in preparing your food. This is because ginger is a natural anti-emetic which helps calm nausea.

Other essential foods to eat are those rich in Folic Acid and Vitamin D such as spinach, okra, cabbage, broccoli, and other green leafy vegetables. Fresh peas, beans, strawberries, banana and oranges are also suitable. Folate rich foods are particularly important before pregnancy and during the first 12 weeks to help prevent neural tube defects, including spina bifida.

Vitamin D rich foods are needed during this stage for bone health, and to facilitate the absorption of calcium from your diet. Most women get the majority of their vitamin D needs from the action of sunlight on their skin, but requirements are higher during pregnancy, so, add a bit of salmon and cheese to your diet at this stage.

READ ALSO: Healthy Mum, Healthy Baby! 10 Nutrients Expectant Mums Really Need & Their Food Sources


The second trimester of your pregnancy is from week 13 to 28 (4th – 6th month). During this period, most pregnant women feel more energetic due to the fading away of morning sickness and tiredness. Expectant mums usually enjoy the second trimester because they now begin to feel pregnant due to baby’s movements.

One of the dietary changes experienced during this period is a heightened sense of taste and smell which might lead to cravings for some foods and dislike for others. However, irrespective of what you might be craving for, the following food items must be part of your diet: mackerel, salmon or sardines (Vitamin D), oats and other high fibre cereals (to prevent constipation), green leafy vegetables, nuts, beans, lean meat and milk (to provide iron, other essential minerals, vitamins and protein), variety of fruits (for minerals and vitamins).

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You particularly need good sources of vitamin c such as oranges to help your body absorb iron better from plant sources and plenty of water for proper hydration and to prevent constipation.

READ ALSO: 10 Folate-rich Foods You Should Eat For A Healthy Pregnancy


The third trimester begins in week 28 of pregnancy and lasts until you give birth, which may be around week 40 of pregnancy. During this period, most pregnant women experience indigestion and heartburn. If you are experiencing such, reduce your intake of spicy and fatty foods. It would also help to eat smaller meals more frequently than eating heavy meals at once.

Note that in the 7th and 8th month, your baby needs to transform cartilage to bone, consequently calcium-rich foods such as skimmed milk, fortified low-fat yogurt, cheese, broccoli, spinach, almonds, sardines, green leafy vegetables, oats, fortified orange juice, should form part of your daily diet.

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