What happens during each of the pregnancy trimesters? What dietary changes or supplements should be considered for you and your baby’s development? Why is the health of your thyroid super important?
You might be pregnant already or just doing a little pre-pregnancy research — either way, it’s good to be aware of the hormonal and physiological changes that you’ll experience during each trimester.
Being more aware will make you better prepared and more likely to enjoy your exciting journey. The more you know, the better you’ll feel.
A full-term pregnancy is considered to be between 38-42 weeks duration and is divided into three trimesters. Each trimester lasts between 12 and 14 weeks (approximately three months).
Your estimated due date is calculated using your Last Normal Menstrual Period, so keeping track of your period dates, and how regular they are, can help pinpoint the due date more accurately.
The first trimester starts from the first day of your last period until week 12 of pregnancy and is often the most daunting.
The First Trimester
Your body is going through a lot of changes, emotionally and physically. You will likely feel tired, have changes in appetite, experience headaches or even constipation. You could also have mixed feelings about the pregnancy and becoming a mother. These are all normal. It’s important to reach out and discuss these changes with someone you trust, such as a friend, or a health professional.
Things you need to know about the first trimester…
Morning sickness can be triggered by significant changes to your hormone levels. Nausea and vomiting can be difficult to cope with – often leaving you tired and depleted of electrolytes. Food and lifestyle tips, as well as supplements such as vitamin B6, ginger, and chromium, can help to manage nausea in pregnancy symptoms.
An area that is often ignored but super important is the health of your thyroid. This can impact your risk of miscarriage, preterm birth, as well as health risks and learning difficulties for your child. As a Naturopath, I focus on the all-important preconception time, to make sure your thyroid is functioning well. If your thyroid health wasn’t considered before pregnancy, don’t despair as screening and thyroid support can also be carried out during pregnancy.
The Second Trimester
The second trimester is from week 13-26. By the second trimester, many women experience relief in the severity of their morning sickness. This is usually the most comfortable time to be pregnant. By now, your baby is about 6 cm long and is starting to form eyebrows, eyelashes, hair and limbs. During the second trimester of pregnancy, an ultrasound is performed to look at your baby in more detail. It is also possible to determine the sex of your baby at this time.
Things you need to know about the second trimester…..
This can be a good time to focus on good nutrition, food choices can have a huge impact on the quality of your pregnancy and the health of your child. Eating plenty of fruit and non-starchy vegetables will supply you with essential minerals, vitamins and antioxidants to support the growth of your baby, as well as your own health and wellbeing. It is recommended to aim for 5 portions of vegetables and 2 portions of fruit daily. Being a nutritionist and naturopath I can provide you with food coaching, and food ideas, specific to each trimester of pregnancy.
Working with a qualified pregnancy naturopath can also ensure that you get the correct monitoring and advice, alongside your hospital midwife or obstetrician.
For example; Blood glucose levels need to be balanced to be able to prevent conditions such as gestational diabetes. Obtaining optimal levels of essential nutrients such as Magnesium can help maintain healthy blood pressure.
Adequate vitamin D levels throughout pregnancy can impact your baby’s musculoskeletal system and thyroid health.
All-important Omega 3 support, as your baby’s brain, is highly influenced by DHA. Evidence suggests that a deficiency in DHA and other essential brain nutrients such as choline can negatively impact learning and cognition.
You may have questions regarding hospital procedures, monitoring in labour, childbirth, and breastfeeding. And we can discuss these topics (and more), in a relaxed, non-rushed environment.
The Third Trimester
The third trimester of pregnancy starts from the 28th week until you give birth.
During this final semester, your body is preparing itself for labour, as your baby continues to grow. Your baby will be gaining more weight, developing hard bones, taste buds and may even hiccup!
Things you need to know about the third trimester….
Indigestion is common during the third trimester, as the hormone progesterone relaxes the muscles of your digestive system. This allows stomach acid to leak back up into the oesophagus, leading to discomfort and heartburn. Food and lifestyle advice can provide much-needed relief. Such as eating slowly, not eating late at night, and reducing intake of spicy fatty foods. Herbal digestives are very effective and there is also an easy exercise that can provide instant relief.
Boosting your intake of vitamin E-rich foods can help reduce your baby’s risk of developing allergies and asthma. Vitamin E also acts as an antioxidant and helps to repair skin, hair, and muscles. Great dietary sources include green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, avocados and eggs.
Looking after your own gut health with probiotics and fiber-rich foods such as vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts has a direct impact on your baby’s microbiome, which greatly influences their future health and immunity.
Taking the right supplements throughout your pregnancy will set your baby up for the best possible start in life. For example, taking a specific probiotic in the later stages of pregnancy can help reduce the incidence of allergies such as eczema, especially if there is a family history.
Book an appointment today
To find out more about each of the trimesters and how you can improve your whole pregnancy and childbirth experience, book an appointment today. As a qualified Pregnancy Naturopath and retired Midwife, I can help you achieve a healthy pregnancy naturally – from conception, throughout each of the trimesters, childbirth, and the post-natal period.