4th Month Pregnancy Diet - Which Foods To Eat And Avoid?

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If you have entered the second trimester of your pregnancy, read this post for useful tips on planning your 4th-month pregnancy diet. This trimester may be much more relaxed and comfortable than the first. Often referred to as the honeymoon period of pregnancy, this is the time when the uncomfortable symptoms disappear.

As you enter the 4th month, you will likely be free from nausea, bloating, vomiting, etc. So, naturally, you would want to gorge on your favorite foods that you missed out on during the first trimester. However, it is important to know what you should and should not have for a healthy and safe pregnancy.

Read on to know about the foods you need to include in your 4th-month pregnancy meals and those you need to avoid.

What’s Happening With The Baby?

The aim of the second trimester is growth. By the fourth month of pregnancy, your baby is fully formed. Every organ, including brain, kidneys, spinal cord, eyes, toes, fingers, lungs and heart, is formed and fully functional.

The body works hard to calcify the baby’s bones and to finetune all the organs. Therefore, your fourth month of pregnancy diet needs to be more growth-promoting and nourishing. Here are some diet dos and don’ts for your fourth month of pregnancy (1).

The Fourth Month: What to Eat:

Here is a plan you can follow during the 4th month of pregnancy diet.

1. High Fiber:

This is the perfect time for you to start building a foundation for freedom from constipation in the later part of pregnancy and also after delivery. Make sure you add lots of fiber in your 4th month pregnancy diet and that too, in each meal. High fiber foods like whole grains, oats and green vegetables. Opt for iron fortified whole wheat bread instead of regular white bread (2).

2. Essential Fatty Acids:

Besides other things, the baby and your body need these acids to lower the risk of premature labor, low birth weight and mental and cognitive retardation in the baby. Ensure that your diet contains sufficient amounts of Omega 3, 6, 9 fatty acids by taking foods like fresh water fish, tinned tuna, nuts and olive oil (3).

3. Dairy Products:

Your body, and the baby’s, still needs increasing amounts of calcium. Your doctor will probably prescribe you a vitamin D and calcium pill on entering the fourth month of pregnancy. You can help your baby develop stronger bones by adding at least one liter of milk products per day. Have 2 glasses of milk or 500 gm of curd or 200 gm of paneer. These act as good supplements to your calcium medication.

4. Meats:

If your nausea is gone, you can include meat in your diet; but do make sure it is washed and cooked very thoroughly. Undercooked meat may carry deadly viruses and bacteria. If you are tempted (or obligated) to eat out, order tandoori or roasted meat as it is sure to be cooked through and through.

5. Fruits:

Fresh fruits are a must throughout pregnancy as they have loads of vitamins and minerals; plus, they are high in water content and/or fiber. Fresh fruits are preferable as they do not contain preservatives and artificial coloring agents. The fourth month of pregnancy may trigger acidity and heartburn. Therefore, fresh seasonal fruits of different colors should be an integral part of your diet in the fourth month of pregnancy.

6. Iron-Rich Foods:

The growth spurt of the foetus starting from the fourth month needs more iron. In addition, your body also needs to make 3-6 extra liters of blood for your pregnancy (hence the famed preggers glow!). An iron-rich diet helps you by making more blood and the baby by aiding better growth. Add foods like nuts, dhaals, eggs, dried fruits and whole wheat products to your diet. Also, consult your doctor before starting any iron supplements (4).

Fourth Month: What NOT to Eat:

Though the crucial first trimester is over and you can now look forward to your baby and its antics, there are still some precautions & foods that need to be avoided in your 4th month of pregnancy diet to ensure the safety of the baby (5).

1. Soft Cheese:

Often these cheeses are made from unpasteurized milk and may harbor harmful bacteria and viruses. Therefore, avoid soft cheeses of all kinds. You can always choose foods containing hard cheese as it has low water content. The low water content makes it less prone to disease causing microorganisms (6).

2. Maida:

Maida or refined flour becomes a dietary concern in the fourth month as refining reduces nutrient and fiber content and may cause constipation (7). Though constipation in itself is a minor thing, it can cause hemorrhoids post-delivery. So, say no to foods like samosas, momos, noodles, etc.

3. Sea Fish:

As much as possible, avoid sea fish as they are loaded with methylmercury, a compound that can cause mental retardation in the fetus. If you cannot do without fish, go for freshwater varieties (6).

4. Street Food:

Though it looks very tempting during your food cravings, street food must be steered clear of. There is no guarantee of the cleanliness and freshness of the foodstuffs and the containers. Street food can cause food poisoning and other water-borne diseases like typhoid. So, prepare a plate of that chaat, pakodis, and dahi bhalla at home itself.

5. Excess Of Dried Fruits:

Though a cup of dried fruits is good for you, avoid taking too many dried fruits during the fourth month of pregnancy. They are very rich and warm in essence, and for some women, can cause untimely contractions.

6. Licorice:

Called mulethi in Hindi, this otherwise wonderful herb can wreak havoc on the pregnancy by triggering contractions. Therefore avoid licorice and licorice extracts, and remember that some candies, toothpastes and Indian gravies also contain licorice (8).

7. Caffeine:

Mothers are also advised to limit themselves from consuming beverages containing high levels of caffeine or avoid them if they can. Some of the common sources of caffeine include coffee, chocolates, tea, and other food items containing these ingredients. This is because even though the baby is fully formed, the baby’s body cannot yet fully metabolize caffeine. Caffeine also reduces enough blood from being supplied to the fetus by constricting blood vessels in the placenta.

When planning your 4th-month pregnancy diet, keep in mind that this is the start of your second trimester, where your baby experiences substantial growth. While your pregnancy-related symptoms may subside, you must continue to consume a well-balanced diet rich in growth-promoting and nourishing nutrients. You should also be cautious about certain foods that might harm your pregnancy, such as soft cheese, seafood, and junk food. Eating well during the fourth month can ensure the baby’s good health in that trimester and lay the foundation for robust development in the subsequent trimester.

References:

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Sadiya Qamar

Sadiya is a writer and editor with a passion for writing about parenthood and children. Her focus areas are health, wellness, and beauty. For MomJunction, she writes on kids’ health and nutrition.  Sadiya believes in doing in-depth research and providing accurate information to help parents with concerns on their children’s growth and development.

Dr. Kire Stojkovski

(MD)
Dr. Kire Stojkovski is a practicing doctor with most of his previous work cited and published in highly approved medical journals. He has acreditation in physiotherapy and is the sports physician for three football squads in his hometown. He has skills in traditional Chinese medicine and was a member of a tutoring program for Traditional Chinese Medicine in Beijing, China,... more