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.
There’s no evidence that any food can trigger labour – not even a hot curry. So skip that spicy food as it might be too rich for you to cope with at this stage. ‘Instead, keep eating nutrient-dense foods that won’t contribute to bloating and will help alleviate constipation,’ says Dr Nicole. ‘Kiwis are packed with vitamin C as well as fibre.’
Make sure you continue to eat foods with brain-boosting DHA, especially if you’re planning to breastfeed. ‘Since you should be having your baby any day now, consuming DHA will result in higher DHA levels in your breastmilk,’ says Dr Nicole. ‘As well as salmon, sardines and anchovies are a great source.’
If you’re overdue, you might well be feeling uncomfortable, stressed and frustrated as all those ‘any news yet?’ texts flood in. But don’t grab a stodgy takeaway or tub of ice cream to boost your morale. ‘Junk food and full-fat ice cream will only contribute to you feeling overly full,’ says Dr Nicole. ‘Snack on slices of apple or berries instead. These provide a sweet taste in addition to vitamins and minerals. Try carrot sticks and celery too.’