Pregnancy is that special phase in a woman’s life when she needs to be extra cautious and careful about almost everything, especially her diet. This is because, apart from her own body, the survival of her baby also depends on what she consumes during this time.

Expecting women need to include a lot of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients in their diet especially during the last month of their pregnancies to ensure good health for both themselves and the baby.

Here are 11 different things women should religiously consume in the final month;

Fruits

It goes without saying that fruits are probably the healthiest and most nutrition-enriched foods among all the things you can consume during pregnancy. A well-balanced and a healthy diet should always include a certain proportion of fruits anyway, whether you are pregnant or not. However, because pregnancy requires one to be extra cautious when making food choices, you should definitely add a variety of fruits to your diet to get all the vitamins, minerals and fiber that both you and your baby need to be healthy.

Orange, for instance, is a great source of folate, also known as Vitamin B9 which will help your body prevent brain and spinal cord defects in the baby. It is also loaded with Vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that prevents cell damage. Apples, on the other hand, are high in fiber and rich in potassium, Vitamin A and C.

Leafy green vegetables

Like fruits, leafy green vegetables also make up an integral part of a healthy diet for pregnant women. This is also because the health of the baby depends on the mother’s ability to sustain a healthy diet. Consuming vegetables during pregnancy, especially in the last months, offers several benefits for both the mother and the child such as a reduced risk of long term health problems. These are also great sources of essential vitamins and minerals like potassium, folic acid, fiber, etc., which our bodies need to function properly.

Moreover, one of the most important components present in green vegetables like spinach and kale is beta carotene which is vital for the development of tissues and cells along with strong vision. It also fosters a healthy immune system which helps the baby fight off bacteria and viruses present in his environment.

Milk

Among the numerous dairy products that are recommended during pregnancy, milk in particular is at the top of the list with its rich supply of nutrients. It is an excellent source of calcium which is a mineral used to build the baby’s teeth and bones. If a pregnant woman’s calcium intake is not adequate in the last month of pregnancy, the body of the fetus draws calcium supply from the mother’s bones which can prove to be harmful for her in the future.

Additionally, milk also provides an extra supply of proteins which is used in the uterus formation and the remodeling of the baby’s tissues. It is also rich in Vitamin D which is essential for preventing issues like low birth weight.

Whole grains

These include rice, wheat, oats, barley and corn to name a few. They are loaded with nutrients like magnesium, iron and selenium, which keep the mother and the baby strong and fit.

Whole grains are a wonderful source of folic acid which is a type of Vitamin B that helps generate new cells in the body. A deficiency of this can lead to diseases like dementia, cancer, osteoporosis, etc. in pregnant women and major birth defects in the baby’s spine and brain.

Lentils

Lentils are quite well-known for their extremely high nutritional values. They are great sources of folate, zinc, iron and calcium which are essential for both the mother and baby’s health. The presence of folic acid in lentil prevents the occurrence of birth defects like spina bifida in the newborn baby. It is also rich in proteins which is crucial for the development of muscles in the baby.

Constipation is quite a common problem that occurs during pregnancy and high content of fiber present in lentils effectively prevents this issue and subsequent hemorrhoids.

Nuts

Pregnant women can benefit greatly from the consumption of nuts especially during the last month of their pregnancy. They are packed with a wide variety of nutrients and important minerals like calcium, magnesium, copper, zinc and selenium which are essential for the development of the fetus. It is also said that children whose mothers eat more nuts during pregnancy have a lower risk of developing a peanut allergy which is often associated with breathing problems.

Eggs

Eggs are not only a wonderful breakfast delicacy but are also one of the best sources of protein and iron for pregnant women. They also facilitate the development of the baby’s body. They are  rich in Omega-3 and choline which lead to a healthy development of the baby’s memory functions, brain, and retina.

Because pregnant women are suggested to consume a good number of calories during pregnancy, the consumption of eggs also meets their daily calorie requirement alongside providing countless nutritional benefits.

Herbal tea

Since caffeinated drinks are generally unhealthy and obviously shouldn’t be consumed by pregnant women, they can simply substitute them with herbal teas like chamomile tea, peppermint tea, ginger tea, etc. These teas contain high amounts of antioxidants and Vitamin C which are excellent for hydration, prevention of headaches, elimination of stress and reduced anxiety levels. They also prevent morning sickness and even prepare the uterus for labor.

Raspberry leaf tea, for instance, is packed with essential minerals like calcium and magnesium which help prevent post-partum hemorrhage.

Salmon

While the existing evidence on the benefits of consuming fish during pregnancy is quite contradictory, the consumption of salmon has been clearly ruled out from the debate. Salmon is a rich source of minerals, Omerga-3 fatty acids and high-quality proteins that help improve the antioxidant defenses of both the mother and the baby. This kind of improvement also helps reduce the additional oxidative stress that is often associated with pregnancy.

Additionally, salmon is also referred to as brain food because of the high content of Omega-3 fatty acids it contains. These acids have been found to lower the risk of dementia and other cognitive impairments. However, pregnant women shouldn’t consume more than 12 ounces of salmon per week to avoid unnecessary mercury intake.

Coconut water

Packed with anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties, coconut water makes for an excellent healthy drink which provides increased nutrition as compared to numerous caffeinated drinks. It is rich in magnesium, potassium and chlorides, which regulate heart functions and blood pressure.

Because expecting mothers are prone to extreme vomiting and dehydration and end up losing a large amount of salt from the body, consumption of coconut water makes up for the loss. It also acts as a natural diuretic which helps prevent urinary tract infection by regulating the flow and frequency of urine.

Lean meat

Lean meat like chicken and beef are the ultimate sources of high-quality proteins which are needed in great amounts during pregnancy. Beef, in particular, is loaded with iron which is an essential mineral necessary for delivering oxygen to all cells in the body. Pregnant women especially need more iron because of their growing body.

Lack of iron or low levels of iron can lead to iron-deficiency which can increase the risk of premature -delivery and low-birth weight.

Maintaining a healthy and proper diet during pregnancy especially in the last month is extremely important for all pregnant women. This is also essential because poor eating habits can increase the risk of pregnancy and birth complications for both the mother and her baby. Healthy and nutritious food choices will not only help during the course of pregnancy but also assist in dealing with any post-pregnancy problem that may occur later.