I’ve just hit 8 months pregnant – can you believe it?! I’m now well into my third trimester, and before we know it Baby Hunkin will be here. My pregnancy has been quite the journey, full of ups and downs (though mostly ups! Watch my 1st trimester vlog here). As many of you may know, I suffered from morning sickness in the early stages of my pregnancy, which affected my appetite for a few weeks. I barely wanted anything, but when I did eat, I wanted carby, cheesy, salty goodness (many of you have agreed that’s what you craved too at that stage!). Thankfully when the nausea lifted by the second trimester, my eating habits went (mostly) back to normal.
Today, I’m sharing some of the best and worst foods that you can eat while pregnant. Keep in mind that I’m no nutritionist, and that every woman (and pregnancy) is different. There is no judgement here – it’s all about what your body tells you it needs, these are just purely my experiences and what I’ve found out along the way. Definitely talk to your own doctor, listen to your appetite, and trust yourself. The list of what to eat and avoid is much longer than what I’ve listed here, but these are the main points that I’m embracing during my pregnancy.
These are great sources of protein, as well as iron, choline, and B vitamins (all which you need in much higher numbers while pregnant). Low iron levels can cause dangerous complications for mum and baby, I actually had this recently, so I stocked up on steak and dark greens, which set the levels right again after a week. Lean meats are one of the quickest ways to deliver iron into your system.
Such as avocado, eggs, salmon and nuts. You guys know how obsessed I am with avocado, and now that I’m pregnant I make sure to eat at least a half of an avocado per day. They’re actually as nutritious as mother’s milk, and have most of the nutrients we need! As for salmon, a friend of mine told me to buy wild salmon and it a couple of times a week: apparently the Omega 3 fatty acids in it prove great for the growth and development of the baby.
Legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas etc) are super high in fiber, protein, iron, folate – all good stuff. I never used to eat them before but now, I love my red lentils and soy beans – they’re super filling and yummy. I’m actually about to try a lentil and coconut milk curry recipe for the first time – wish me luck!
Dark, Leafy Greens & Broccoli
Vegetables like kale, spinach and broccoli contain high amounts of fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, calcium, iron, folate and potassium – all of which mum needs. They’ve also been linked to a reduced risk of low birth rate, and can even decrease constipation (which is a common problem for pregnant women). Greens like broccoli are also rich in antioxidants and have high levels of vitamin C, and will even help you absorb iron when it’s eaten with things like brown rice.
Whole grains like oats and quinoa are packed with protein and other vitamins, but are also a great way for expectant mums to meet their daily calorie requirements. I absolutely love oatmeal in the mornings, and I’ve read that it can actually aid in milk production once baby is here.
If you’re not lactose intolerant, milk and yogurt are great options for pregnant women to add more protein and calcium into their diets. While some people have a hard time with dairy, it’s still a very much a part of my diet. I have nonfat milk in my (whole grain) cereal, oatmeal, and decaf lattes – and I’m loving yogurt as a good source of probiotics. Many of us are calcium deficient to begin with, so it’s important that pregnant women make an effort to get enough – and dairy is a great source of it.
Raw Seafood & Meats
Some bacteria in fish and meat can only be killed by heat, so unless you’re going for a cooked salmon roll, then sushi, sashimi, and oysters are basically off limits. The same goes with undercooked meat, which can host salmonella and e.coli. Side note, if you’re obsessed with sushi like me, my doctor told me I’m still ok to have California and veggie rolls. So you don’t have to miss out entirely. Phew!
Cold cut meats can be contaminated with listeria, which can be very dangerous for you and your baby, as it can cause food poisoning and reach your baby through the placenta. However, my doctor has told me that if you zap them in the microwave for 40 seconds it kills the bacteria, so I’ve been having turkey sandwiches here and there while pregnant.
This one makes me sad, because I love smoked salmon. Smoked seafood should be avoided as it can also be contaminated with listeria. I can’t wait to eat this again!
Check the label. Both hard and (some) soft cheeses are safe for pregnant women to eat if they’re pasteurized, although I’ve been sticking to hard cheeses like cheddar, just to be sure. The pasteurization process kills bacteria, making it safer for mum and baby.
While herbal tea may seem innocent enough, many herbs are actually not safe to consume during pregnancy. Stick to non-caffeinated black and green teas with familiar ingredients like lemon. Certain herbs like sage, parsley and even camomile can cause complications. The same goes for herbal supplements (I was taking tumeric tablets before I got pregnant) and aromatherapy oils – there are so many contradictory or inconclusive studies, it’s best to wait it out.
What did you eat and avoid while pregnant? Tell me in the comments!