Is there any point in improving your diet in your second or third trimester?
Updated: 7 days ago
The short answer is yes; it’s never too late to improve your diet at any stage of your pregnancy. Ideally, it is best to focus on a healthy diet and lifestyle before pregnancy or as soon as you think you are pregnant but making healthy changes at any stage can still benefit you and your baby.
A nutritious diet of mostly whole foods (not ultra-processed food) provides mum with the essential nutrients needed for herself, along with her baby’s growth and development, reduces the risk of complications and contributes to the well-being of both mum and baby. You are growing a whole new person. This is such an amazing time, even if you haven’t been feeling the best for all of it.
Eating well is not easy if you are feeling sick or have other pregnancy symptoms, but don’t worry; you can still make improvements. It can be confusing to know what to eat and searching online can leave you more confused and worried. It's not all or nothing; just choose the ones you can do.
Tips for a healthy pregnancy diet
Instead of thinking about the foods you need to avoid, focus on all the tasty foods that will give you energy and be good for you and your baby. Eat a variety of different foods including lean protein, healthy fat, fruit, vegetables and whole grains. This ensures that you get a broad range of essential vitamins and minerals.
Good options are leafy greens, oily fish, beans and lentils, grass-fed meat and full-fat dairy products. This will ensure you get folate, iron, calcium and Omega-3 fatty acids.
Eating oily fish or taking a good Omega 3 supplement is important in pregnancy because the baby needs it all through, but even more so in the last 3 months for brain cell development. Indeed, Omega-3 is hugely important for your child’s brain development until he or she is 2½ and afterwards for all the other Omega-3 health benefits, including its anti-inflammatory properties. Low-grade inflammation has been shown to affect insulin receptors (linked to T2 diabetes), eczema and other skin conditions. Omega 3 helps to reduce those risks. It is good for mum too.
Drink plenty of plain water throughout the day to support your body’s essential functions and aid digestion and detoxification. Fluid is even more important when you are pregnant because the baby is cushioned in amniotic fluid. As your pregnancy progresses, drink more fluids early in the day to reduce nighttime bathroom trips.
If you have difficulty keeping fluids down, please contact your doctor. Don’t wait until you have to. If you need an electrolyte drink, a simple homemade one is often healthier and more economical than shop-bought ones. See my electrolyte drink recipe
Choose supplements from reputable brands. Some supermarket supplements are cheap because they are of inferior quality and poorly absorbed. Get advice from a Nutritional Therapist or a qualified person in a good health food store. You don’t need to purchase the most expensive one, but poor-quality supplements are literally money down the drain.
Limit processed food and added sugar. Do this by eating healthy, regular meals and snacks, so you aren’t tempted to eat highly processed, sugary foods.
Avoid artificial sweeteners for coffee and processed food. Research is showing more and more evidence that artificial sweeteners are unhealthy. I think a safer option is to get used to less sweet things or have a small amount of sugar in sweet foods. Not every day!
Watch portion size to avoid excess weight which depletes your energy and predisposes you to pregnancy issues.
Getting your dietary information from social media is unwise, particularly when you are growing a little person. Get reliable and safe information from a suitably qualified professional who can guide you in the right direction for the remainder of your pregnancy.
Click on the link to book a free 20-minute pregnancy consultation, where you can tell me about your pregnancy so far and we can decide if we would be a good fit to work together for the remainder of your pregnancy. Ideal if you have niggle or more serious issues, just want good nutrition and lifestyle advice, or have diabetes or been diagnosed with gestational diabetes.
Very important: Contact your Doctor or Midwife if you are worried about any medical issues at any time during your pregnancy.