Your developing baby is at his most active yet in month 6 of your pregnancy. Support his motor skills with protein from these sources.
You’re now 23 to 26 weeks pregnant and your developing baby is showing just how strong his muscles have become by kicking and moving actively in the womb. Find out what foods fuel your developing baby’s motor skills and help support his overall growth and development.
Your developing baby’s physical and mental gym work
You’ll definitely feel plenty of movements in your womb this month, as your developing baby tries tumbling, kicking and rolling to practice his motor skills. Your developing baby is making his presence felt, but that’s also because of his increased size in your womb. Your developing baby now weighs around three pounds (1.3 kilograms) and has grown to between 11 and 16 inches (28 to 40 centimeters) long. And you’re probably noticing your developing baby’s sleeping habits don’t necessarily match your own! Don’t worry, his boisterous actions will slow down as you near the end of your pregnancy and he has less room to move.
All this gym work will pay off in the future as your developing baby is practicing the movements that will help him eat, drink and breathe. His brain, which continues to develop, is also helping him to learn these skills.
During weeks 24 to 25, his neurons – those cells that conduct nerve impulses, which formed in the first trimester – migrate to different areas in his brain in order to be ready for action.
While your developing baby is hard at work practicing his motor skills, you can help to support his progress by eating well and nourishing yourself and your developing baby.
What foods do you eat to help his body and brain and nourish yourself?
So much physical activity and mental development in weeks 23 to 26 means it’s a good time to re-evaluate what you eat. You’ll want to get all your nutritional requirements, as well as giving your developing baby all the nutrients he needs. For example, your well-balanced diet needs to include DHA, the omega-3 fatty acid that’s so essential for his brain and eyes to develop. In fact, DHA represents about 97% of all omega-3 fats in the brain and 93% of all omega-3 fats in the retina in the eye1.
It’s also time to eat more protein and that means including more chicken, fish, rice and eggs in your meals. The amino acids in protein are the building blocks for your developing baby’s cells and for your growing body.2
You’ll also need to increase the amount of protein you consume in the second and third trimester of your pregnancy from about 45 grams per day to 70 grams per day3. An egg has about 6 grams; one cup of skimmed milk has 8 grams; half a cup of raw tofu has 20 grams; and half a roasted chicken breast has around 27 grams. So you should have no trouble getting the required amount.
Drink enough water. Water helps carry nutrients to your cells, takes away waste and prevents you from getting dehydrated and fatigued. Pregnant women are advised to consume at least 10 glasses of water per day.4
Help your developing baby grow strong bones and teeth by getting enough calcium on a daily basis. Foods, such as beancurd, soft tofu set with calcium salt, soy milk fortified with calcium, dried shrimp, sesame paste, cooked eggs, and vegetables like choy sum, kale, bok choi, mustard greens, and broccoli,5 are all good sources of calcium.
Did you know?
Your developing baby is learning to “tune out’’ and is developing an early form of memory and learning called ‘habituation’, which he’ll continue to develop. It means that he will be able to sleep through many of those familiar noises he’s already hearing, like street noise.
Your developing baby’s early preparation
Between weeks 23 to 26 of pregnancy, your developing baby’s lungs produce a fatty substance called surfactant. This will help his lungs expand more easily when, in three months’ time, he has to breathe on his own.
Next month, your developing baby will start to develop a new sense. Read on to find out how his sense of smell develops at the start of your third trimester in pregnancy stages: month 7
Almost all parents talk to their unborn child. And last month was when he began to hear you for the first time. You can track how far you and your developing baby have come in pregnancy stages: month 5
You can also track how much more protein you should be eating in between the previous trimester and this trimester to help the growth of your developing baby’s cells. The many sources of protein, such as fish, chicken and eggs give you a wide variety of recipes to work with.
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2Medline Plus, National Institutes of Health. Protein in diet. Downloaded from https:www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002467.htm . Accessed on October 2015.
4Mayo Clinic. Water: How much should you drink every day? Downloaded from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating.... Accessed on October 2015.