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3rd trimester pregnancy nutrition considerations

Each trimester of pregnancy has varying demands on the body with regard to nutrition. If you’re in your third trimester then there are a few things you may like to take into consideration:

CALORIE INTAKE:

Your body requires an ADDITIONAL 450-500 calories in the third trimester – this is a lot especially at a time when you feel less able to fit things in as a result of baby’s pressure on organs, especially those involved in digestion. Rather than feel you have to eat copious amounts of additional food look instead at how you can make the foods you’re already eating more calorie dense.

Examples:

  • Rather than just an apple for a snack, pop some nut butter on there
  • Boost calorie density with a greek yoghurt full fat instead of a natural plain yoghurt which is lower in fat and perhaps add some Omega 3 rich ground linseeds or LSA to the mix with berries
  • Instead of a dip and rice crackers, try a half avocado with seed snaps – both rich in healthy fats and calorie dense

SLEEP:

Your sleep is no doubt affected at this stage. It’s near impossible to be comfortable and leg cramps or needing to go to the bathroom can wake you frequently during the night.

A couple of considerations here:

  • Enjoy your water intake in the earlier parts of the day not the latter. I personally only have a small amount of water (less than a cup) after dinner and then leave it until morning. This saves the bathroom visits throughout the night.
  • Ensure you’re supplementing with magnesium and if possible pop your feet into a magnesium salt bath after dinner and before sleep to support magnesium absorption and reduce those cramping legs. Aim for supplementing magnesium mid morning and mid to late afternoon.
  • Please don’t take sleep herbs formulations. Many herbs are contraindicated in pregnancy and it’s never worth the risk.
  • Get to bed earlier than normal in your 3rd trimester. You may not be asleep but at least let your body REST. You’re about to go into a marathon aka labour and birth and nursing / feeding throughout the night takes its toll on your body. Rest whilst you can.

CONSTIPATION:

No one wants it! However, it’s a reality for many in pregnancy and can strike when you feel like you’re already at your limit. Constipation occurs a result of increased progesterone (required to maintain a healthy pregnancy) and / or reduced intake in water and fibre.

You can help constipation by ensuring :

  • You are on top of your daily water intake – keep a tally on the fridge aiming for approximately 10 glasses daily
  • That from about 32-34 weeks onward you can start drinking raspberry leaf tea which will also contribute to your daily water intake, constipation and may support shorter labour time, although further studies are required on this.
  • You eat plenty of plant based whole foods  to ensure you hit fibre targets of 28-30g daily. Plant based whole foods include fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, and whole grains.
  • You enjoy fresh dates which are not only a great source of fibre, energy and a delicious serve of all natural sweetness, but in trimester 3 they’re valuable for cervical ripening and some studies have shown that those women who consume approximately 6 dates dates for 4 weeks prior to their EDD experienced shortened labour time (you can read one of the recent studies on date consumption HERE.)
  • Keeping yourself moving – exercise, just gentle, helps to stimulate the bowels and regular bowel motions.

 

 

Jacqueline Alwill

Jacqueline is an Accredited Nutritional Medicine Practitioner specialising in family and early childhood nutrition and gut health. She writes for several media publications, hosts a regular nutrition segment on Channel 7 and in 2016 published her first book, "Seasons to Share" (Murdoch Books). Jacqueline is passionate about working with corporations and brands to support and educate their community and audience and is currently a media spokesperson and ambassador for Remedy Drinks, Eimele Australia, Woolworths, Kitchenaid and Nutrition Director at Bondi Bubs Wholefoods. She is mum to Jet and outside her working hours you'll find her with her family in the surf, on the beach, or out and about in nature.

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