Foods by the Trimester: 4th Tri

Posted on December 12th, 2018

Ok, so you may be thinking there is no such thing as a fourth trimester and you would technically be right. However if you ask any new mother or read up on the ‘advice’ for postpartum women you will quickly learn there is a fourth trimester for both you and baby. Your body is trying to quickly transition back to your pre-pregnancy state (hormones included) and baby is learning to live life on the outside. If you are breastfeeding your body will require even more nutrition to fuel both you and baby.


  • If you are breastfeeding you will need anywhere from 300-500 extra calories based on your pre-pregnancy calorie demands. (Think about how many extra calories you needed around your 2nd & 3rd trimester!)
    • Use this opportunity to fill up on calories from nutritious sources.
    • Don’t try to drastically cut calories to lose the baby weight as milk supply can drop with a large energy deficit.
  • If you are formula feeding you can return to the calories you needed before pregnancy
  • You can expect to lose a large portion of weight immediately after the birth of your baby because you had the baby! After that you may notice weight continue to come off while some other mommas have to really work at it to get that scale to budge back to their normal weight after pregnancy.
    • Don’t worry about the weight right away – your time postpartum should be fully focused on healing for you and nurturing your baby.
    • Your weight may fluctuate depending on water retention and milk coming in a few days after birth.
    • It will take awhile for your body to get back to a more normal shape… and that is ok! Embrace your new body that just grew another life and find some new clothes that fit and flatter you during this time of transition.
    • One of the many benefits of breastfeeding is that it can help mom return to her pre-pregnancy size much quicker! You can expect to burn extra calories while nursing your little one helping you shed the extra weight.


  • Take help when you can! Preparing a healthy meal can be challenging when taking care of your newest addition. Take your friends and family’s offers up on them bringing you a home cooked meal! Hopefully you also did a little bit of prep before the baby arrived to create a stash of healthy freezer meals you can rely on as well.
  • Utilize Reasor’s online shopping! Online shopping allows you to add food to your cart at any time of the day (hello 2:00 am feeding). Plus, you won’t have to get baby out of the car to get your groceries or risk exposing that baby to any germs out in public if you aren’t quite ready.
  • Focus on iron rich foods to replenish your nutrient stores. The minimum recommendation is 18 grams/day. You can find iron in red meats, lentils, beans, spinach, pumpkin seeds, dried apricots, oatmeal, bran, and iron fortified cereals. Your doctor may even recommend an iron supplement.
  • If you are formula feeding you should follow a healthy diet if you have no other medical conditions or special diet needs. A healthy diet should be well balanced in fruits, vegetables, low fat/fat free dairy, lean protein, and whole grains.
  • If you are breastfeeding your dietary needs (assuming you have no special dietary restrictions or medical conditions) should also consist of a healthy diet with a few tweaks.
    • Nursing mothers typically need an addition 25 grams of protein each day. Try to source your protein more often than not from foods like yogurts, beans, tofu, lean meat, eggs, nuts, and milk.
    • Keep your calcium intake consistent. Your estrogen tends to drop when breastfeeding which can leave you at higher risk for osteoperosis. Calcium and Vitamin D can help with some bone protection.
    • Invest in a postnatal vitamin or if you would like you can continue your prenatal vitamins (which is what I did). You should continue with your vitamins for as long as you are nursing (and there after if you are planning or could get pregnant).
    • While not documented thoroughly by research but reported by other mothers is the use of fenugreek and blessed thistle for increased supply. You can find these herbs as a supplements, added into lactation foods, or in Mother’s Milk tea. Some food options that can also help boost your supply is oatmeal (or oats in general), spinach, garlic, brewer’s yeast, and apricots. I tend to recommend oatmeal as it is easy to incorporate into your routine as breakfast, thrown into a smoothie or made into energy bites (and are some of my favorite ways to enjoy oats).


  • Follow the lead of your doctor on this one! Exercise postpartum will look different for each woman and so can the timeline.
    • Once you are cleared to exercise – take it slow and easy. Start with walking, stretching, and very simple exercises to start waking up those muscles again.

About the Blogger:

Heather Steele, RD/LD is a Registered Dietitian and loves to garden, cook, and spend time with her family. Heather offices out of the Reasor’s off 71st & Lynn Lane and is on staff at Reasor’s for all of your food & nutrition needs.
Information included does not constitute medical advice and should only be used as a general recommendation for a healthy, balanced diet and lifestyle. Reasor’s Registered Dietitian opinions and recommendations are her own; she is not paid to endorse any products or services.