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.
Consuming foods high in vitamin C will help boost your skin elasticity during birth. ‘Mango is a superb source of vitamin C,’ says Dr Nicole. ‘Other good sources include oranges, papaya, grapefruit and strawberries.’
Walnuts contain plenty of phosphorous, which will help your baby build strong bones and teeth. This mineral is a component of DNA too. ‘Your baby will ‘contain’ about 20 grams of phosphorous when he is born, most of which will have been accumulated in the last eight weeks of pregnancy, so make sure you’re eating enough,’ advises Dr Nicole. Phosphorous is also essential for blood clotting and muscle contractions, so it’s vital for your body during labour.
This superfood will provide you with choline, a nutrient transferred in large amounts from the mother to the fetus, which helps brain cells develop properly.
But you need plenty, so there’s some left for your body as it also aids your sleep and muscle movement – vital as you prepare for labour. ‘The high water content (92%) of watermelon is an added plus, contributing to your daily adequate intake goal of three litres per day during pregnancy,’ adds Dr Nicole.
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