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Healthy eating tips during pregnancy

A well-balanced, nutritional pregnancy diet benefits you and your baby. Not only does it help your baby develop well in the womb, it can also alleviate pregnancy discomforts such as vomiting, heartburn, dizziness and nausea.

Take a look at your nutritional needs, stage-by-stage:

First Trimester (Conception - 12 weeks)
During the first trimester, your baby is developing rapidly from just a few cells (embryo), to a human-like appearance with eyes, ears, fingers and toes, vital organs and genitals. You might experience a series of pregnancy discomforts as your body adjusts to the sudden surge of hormones and changes, such as vomiting, frequent urination, heartburn, food cravings and aversions, nausea, dizziness and fatigue.

To combat early pregnancy discomforts, eat light, frequent and fibre-rich meals six times a day. Fruits and healthy snacks with a slight sour taste (citrus flavours) can help abate nausea. Avoid artificial sweeteners and spicy, greasy foods. It's also time for you to give up on smoking and alcohol drinking, and cut down caffeinated beverages drastically. If you are experiencing severe discomforts, seek immediate medical attention.

Second Trimester (13 - 28 weeks)
At 13 weeks to 28 weeks, your baby would have developed fully functioning organs, muscles and nervous system. Once you're in your second trimester, certain discomforts such as nausea and fatigue should subside, while your baby bump grows prominent every day.

Consume foods that are high in protein such as nuts, seeds, lean red meat, poultry, fish, pasteurised milk and dairy products. Also, include healthy fats and oils such as mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids (Omega-3 and Omega-6) into your diet, which can be found in certain vegetable oils (red palm oil, olive oil), nuts, seeds, fish and seafood.

Third Trimester (29 - 40 weeks)
Your baby's organs should be completed and fully functioning, and while he is getting bigger with every week, his weight will be putting pressure on your organs, causing you to experience shortness of breath and frequent urination, and an increase in appetite.

As your baby's nutritional needs increase, you will need plenty of protein, folic acid, calcium, iron and vitamins for an all-rounded nourishment. An appropriate boost of nutrition and the right proportion of meat and vegetables can prevent maternal overweight or oversized foetus that causes dystocia (abnormal, slow, or difficult childbirth).

Keep in mind that every mother and baby's nutritional needs may be different, so it's important to conduct regular prenatal check-ups to ensure that you and your baby are developing safely and healthily.