Food by the Trimester: 3rd Tri

Posted on July 20th, 2018

Hello third trimester – I can’t believe you are already here! The third trimester brings new enjoyments (said seriously and sarcastically) for most women. That baby is going through some rapid growth and adding on all the fat it needs to stay warm and for protection, which means you may feel even more hungry than before to ensure baby is getting enough calories to keep building up those fat stores. You may also notice your fatigue start to sneak back in, which can sometimes limit our activity. If you are anything like me spending your third trimester during the hottest part of the year you may be limit your activity because you are too swollen from the heat to enjoy much time on your feet (although I think this can affect a lot of pregnant women regardless of the heat!). While I haven’t finished my third trimester yet, I am going to try and give you some tips when it comes to navigating nutrition and health during those last few months of pregnancy.

CALORIES:

  • You are looking at about 450 extra calories every day (from pre-pregnancy and only about 110 more calories since the 2nd trimester). You will likely feel hungrier anyways so it shouldn’t be too difficult to get motivated about consuming those extra calories.
    • As your bump continues to grow along with baby you may find that your tummy just doesn’t fit as much food as it use to comfortably. Try switching from three large meals a day to several small meals to get those calories without too much discomfort.
  • You should continue gaining about 1-2 lbs. per week, unless otherwise specified by your doctor.
    • Be watchful for any excessive and rapid weight gain that is also associated with swelling (beyond the norm for pregnancy). These can be signs of preeclampsia. This is a condition that typically shows up after 20 weeks of pregnancy and is associated with high blood pressure and other various signs and symptoms like headache, vision changes, excessive swelling and weight gain, and protein in your urine. Your doctor should monitor you at every visit for these things but if you notice something different in-between visits it is better to get it checked out to be safe. The only cure is to deliver your baby.
    • By the end of the third trimester you should have gained about 25-35 pounds for your entire pregnancy, if you started at a normal BMI.

FOOD:

  • Continue with that healthy diet, even though you need those extra calories. Try to fill those extra calories with nutrient dense foods to help keep you and baby healthy and keep your weight gain at an appropriate amount. A general healthy diet should consist of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, low fat/fat free dairy, and whole grains.
  • Continue that prenatal vitamin. In fact, if you plan on nursing you will likely need to continue it after pregnancy as well.
  • Continue your focus on iron rich food sources including lean beef (look for cuts ending in -loin or -round), dark green veggies, and dried fruit. Try pairing them with foods rich in Vitamin C to help with absorption like oranges, bell peppers, and strawberries.
  • Pack on the fat – Omega 3 fats that is! Omega 3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids (that means that our bodies can’t make them so we have to get them from a food source) and can help with the brain development of baby, yay! Plus, omega 3 fatty acids fall into the healthy fat category.
    • Fatty fish is an excellent way to get in a serving of omega 3s – keep in mind fish should be limited to twice a week. Fatty fish include salmon, herring, and trout to name a few.
    • Other sources include walnuts, chia seeds, flax seed, canola oil, spinach, and peanut butter. Try adding chia and flax into meals you are already making for that boost like oatmeal, smoothies, or muffins.
    • You can also find omega 3 added to other food products like eggs, milk, oatmeal, and juice.
    • If you are thinking of taking a supplement with omega 3s – talk it over with your doctor first.

EXERCISE:

  • You may notice days when you feel more tired or your body more sore and swollen. It is perfectly fine to listen to your body and rest. You are growing another human, that requires a lot of work!
  • When you feel up to it and your doctor has given you the green light you can try out different activities that feel good for you and your body. Some individuals are able to still get in that spin class while some are more comfortable with a light walk and stretching. Again, listen to YOUR body. Don’t compare yourself to others – mindful movement is the key. Lighter activities that most pregnant women can enjoy include walking, stretching, yoga, and swimming.
  • If you just can’t seem to get it in a full exercise session, try breaking it up into segments throughout the day. Walking for only 5-10 minutes at a time.
  • Make sure to stay hydrated throughout the day and even more importantly during activity! Lots and lots of water.
  • I have found walking in segments throughout the day work best for me or hitting the pool where there is less resistance. I also picked up a low cost resistance band to use for my arms and legs to build and maintain muscle without having to pick up weights.
  • This may be a great time to add in light yoga or even mediation to help you with learning and practicing to focus your mind and breathing. I’ve heard these can be helpful for labor so it is worth a shot!
  • If you are anything like me you will also need to be mindful of your “new” center of gravity. That growing bump can change the dynamics of your body and not being able to see your feet can certainly give you some instability.

About the Blogger:

Heather Steele, RD/LD is a Registered Dietitian and loves to garden, cook, and is expecting her first child. 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.