Meet our expert: Dr Nicole Avena, neuroscientist and author of What to Eat When You’re Pregnant (£8.49, Ten Speed Press).
Tempting as it might be to tuck into comforting junk food in late pregnancy, feeding your body with the right nutrients can make a significant difference to you and your baby at this stage.
Making wise nutritional choices can alleviate late pregnancy symptoms, help prepare your body for labour and boost your baby’s development. .
Many women experience heartburn in late pregnancy. This occurs because your oesophageal sphincter muscle, which stops acid coming back up from your stomach, is more relaxed, due to increased progesterone levels. ‘Avoid fried and spicy foods, because these will exacerbate the problem,’ advises Dr Nicole. ‘Aim for high-fibre choices instead, such as squash.’ Acorn squash is particularly high in fibre, but the more widely available butternut squash is also worth putting on your shopping list.
‘Your baby continues to absorb the DHA [an omega-3 fatty acid] from your diet in the last weeks of pregnancy, and this aids his brain development,’ says Dr Nicole. ‘And salmon is a great source of this. With 1.46 grams of DHA per 100 grams, just one serving has more than twice the required daily amount.’ Do take note of NHS advice though that pregnant women should not have more than two portions of oily fish per week due to concerns about pollutants.
Yoghurt fortified with Vitamin D
Craving something sweet and indulgent? Both Yoplait and Marks and Spencer have yoghurt ranges with added vitamin D. The yoghurt contains calcium, and the vitamin D helps your body absorb it. ‘Calcium absorption increases significantly during the last trimester as your baby builds his bones,’ explains Dr Nicole.