A Guide To Good Eating During Pregnancy - Third Trimester
There is not long to go now! Hopefully you are feeling well and getting excited about your impending arrival. A rapidly growing bump can mean there is less room for food at this stage in your pregnancy. However, you will need extra calories – up to 500 extra calories per day in fact, to support the growth and development of your baby.
During the third trimester one of the biggest nutritional issues is balancing your increased calorie requirements with nutrient rich food choices that fit into your limited stomach space. Reflux and heartburn are common as your growing baby takes up more room – meaning food type and timing are important. Small meals and snacks that are roughly a fist in size and consumed every couple of hours will help you to get enough calories. Good options include half a sandwich, crackers with topping, a small serve of pasta or brown rice with chicken or salmon, milk-based drinks, yoghurt and nuts. You might find consuming liquids separately to solid food will help prevent reflux. Keeping upright or going for a walk immediately after meals will also help.
Iron and Omega 3
Along with good fats, iron and omega 3 rich foods remain the focus at this time of your pregnancy. Lean red meat, eggs and legumes are all rich dietary sources of iron – remember to factor them into your diet least two to three times each week. Oily fish is the richest natural source of omega 3 fats and salmon and sardines are both good choices that are less likely to put you at risk of consuming excessive mercury.
As the birth draws near, a focus on good fats found in olive oil, avocado, nuts and grain-based breads and cereals will help to give the body the nutrients it needs to produce breast milk. Good fats are rich sources of energy and key nutrients including plant sources of omega 3, vitamin E and magnesium are important. Enjoy olive oil as a salad dressing, snack on mixed nuts and continue to focus on regularly eating fish to get the benefits these foods offer.
Excessive fluid is another common issue during the final weeks of pregnancy. Your dietary intake of sodium – salt – can influence how much fluid you are retaining. For this reason, avoiding foods with added salts is a good idea. Foods high in salt include packet soups, sauces and stocks, Asian cuisines, fast food and restaurant meals. Try to avoid adding extra salt to cooking and ensure you are getting enough fluid – at least two litres each day. Foods rich in potassium may help to flush out excessive fluid so increase your intake of leafy green vegetables such as kale, spinach, celery, leek, fresh fruits, beetroot and green tea – caffeine free where available. Most importantly – unless advised otherwise by your midwives or obstetrician – any kind of movement is good so keep walking as much as you can, for as long as you can to help aid circulation and move excessive fluid away from your legs.