Pregnancy month four: Eat iron-rich foods for a healthier pregnancy
Month four and your baby bump will definitely begin to show. It’s one of the most enjoyable stages of pregnancy, when you’ll discover that you’re the center of attention wherever you go. Everyone around will start to notice and you’ll probably spend a lot of time repeatedly responding to people asking if you’re pregnant, how many weeks, etc.
The fourth month is also when you should place even more emphasis on ensuring that you maintain a varied and balanced diet. This will help you achieve your nutritional requirements and give your growing baby the necessary nourishment.
My doctor talked to me about eating more iron-rich food during this period, why?
You need higher amounts of iron than any time in your life. This is because of the increase in your blood volume which is essential to nourish your baby.
Rich sources of iron include meat and chicken, because the iron derived from these sources is well absorbed by your body. Other sources of iron include legumes (lentil, beans, chickpeas) and green leafy vegetables (spinach, swiss-chard, silk…). But since iron absorption from these sources is lower than that of meat, it’s recommended that you include a vitamin C-rich food (lemon, orange, melon, broccoli, green pepper…) in your meal. This is because vitamin C has been shown to increase the absorption of iron from legumes and vegetables. So why not try a moujaddara plate and a cabbage salad with a squeeze of lemon. Or a chickpeas or fava beans (foul) plate served with a glass of fresh orange juice. Both delicious and nutritious!
Stay off sweets!
If you have a sweet tooth, try to avoid eating a lot of desserts since these are high in calories and low in nutrients. Replace sweets with dried fruits, unsalted nuts, fruit yogurt, or a light homemade cake from time to time.
Most importantly, remember not to skip meals or go without food for more than four hours, in order to prevent nausea, heartburn, fatigue and tiredness. It is recommended to eat 5 to 6 light and healthy meals daily.
An example of a daily plan would be:
• A glass of low-fat milk
• 1 1/2 cup of whole-wheat breakfast cereals
• Banana or apple
• 2 pieces of toasted brown bread
• 4 tablespoons of low fat Labneh or 4 slices of white cheese
• Vegetables (cucumber or tomatoes)
• 1 cup of rice
• 2 cups of meat stew (vegetables or legumes cooked with meat)
• 1 cup of yogurt or laban
• ½ cup of unsalted nuts
• ½ cup of dried fruits or 1 bowl of fruit salad
• A bowl of Greek salad (with pasteurized feta cheese)
• Chicken sandwich made with whole-wheat bread
With so many nutritional necessities, you must be wondering how much weight you’ll gain during this month. The answer is an average of 1.5 to 2 kilograms at the end of the fourth month. But there’s absolutely no need for concern, because as long as you eat healthy, your weight gain will be within the norm. So bon appetite and best of luck!
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