Third Trimester Nutrition
You’ve reached the homestretch! The third trimester lasts between 28 weeks to birth. Much of the nutritional needs have remained the same, but due to the rapid growth of a baby a few recommended daily intake of nutrients have increased.
During the third trimester, a baby’s weight triples, thereby increasing the need for protein. Amino acids (what proteins are made of) are required for the building blocks of cells and thus help with growth and development. At this time, it’s important to ensure that a mother is including protein at each meal and snack throughout the day. Moreover, protein has a protective effect against gestational diabetes, as protein can help stabilize blood sugar levels.
Amount required: an extra 10g per day based on a woman’s body weight
Where to find it: Poultry, red meat (aim for lean and grass-fed), eggs, legumes, chia seeds, quinoa
Baby’s bones are continuing to develop during the third trimester, reinforcing the need to adequate calcium. Because calcium can be taken directly from a mother’s stores, it’s important for moms to replenish their stores so as to not feel symptoms such as cramping (discussed in second trimester nutrition).
Amount required: 1000mg/d
Where to find it: Dairy products, sesame seeds, leafy greens
We spoke about the need for essential fatty acids in during the first trimester. DHA is needed as it’s essential for cognitive, neuro, and visual development. It’s especially important in the third trimester as brain development is happening at an incredible speed and neural connections are beginning to form.
Amount required: 1.4g/day of combined omega 3
Where to find it: Salmon, sardines, fish oil, chia seeds
Along with a tripling weight, the baby’s blood volume has also increased. Iron is critical at this stage as the baby begins accumulating iron from the mother to build a store that will last from birth to the first six months of life. Because babies are accumulating iron from the mom during the, it’s important that women maintain their iron stores through nutrition or supplementation to decrease their risk of anemia, and decrease their child’s risk of pre-term delivery, low birth weight, etc.
Amount required: 27mg per day, especially important during the 2nd and 3rd trimester
Where to find it: Lean grass-fed meats, spinach, lentils and beans
Zinc is required for immune system development, which is important at this stage as the baby is getting ready to leave the womb and enter our world which is full of germs (both good and bad).
Amount required: 11mg/day
Where to find it: Lean grass-fed beef, pumpkin seeds
For more information or support in regards to your pregnancy, book an appointment with me or your nearby Naturopathic Doctor! We would love to help keep you (and your baby) happy and healthy during your pregnancy!