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Proper Nutrition for Your Third Trimester of Pregnancy

Healthy eating during your pregnancy means a heathier baby. Here’s how you should be eating during your third trimester of pregnancy.

Third Trimester Nutrition

A lot is happening inside your womb during the third trimester of pregnancy. Your baby is full term at the end of week 37, and weeks 28 through 40 are particularly challenging and rewarding. You’ll probably see your doctor more regularly and get your progress checked. Your baby will be moving around a lot more during these final weeks.

It’s important for both of you to stay healthy up through labor and delivery, and the best way you can do that is by eating right. Because your baby is growing faster in late pregnancy, you need extra calories and healthy weight gain to make sure you’re both well-fed. These extra calories need to contain nutrients that help your baby grow properly and stay healthy. It helps to have counseling on what to eat during your third trimester, as nutrient needs change, especially if you have other medical conditions to worry about. The team at Valley Perinatal Services can help you come up with a plan that works for you.

What to Eat

Continue eating a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. With the advice of your doctor, continue taking your prenatal vitamins and supplements during your third trimester, and stay active as long as you can do so without swelling, pain or complications. For this final part of your pregnancy, make sure you’re getting all these nutrients from healthy, well-balanced sources.

Water

Staying hydrated always is important, and while your blood volume is increased, you need more water. Getting enough water also can help you fight off fatigue and constipation. Plain water isn’t the only way to stay hydrated; non-caffeinated beverages can hydrate you, as can low-sodium soup broths, and fruits and vegetables with high water contents.

Healthy Fats

Healthy fats help your baby’s brain and central nervous system develop. They also are energy sources, help transport other important vitamins throughout the body, and prepare your body for lactation. You can get healthy fats from nuts, seeds, avocados, salmon, eggs, and olive, safflower, sunflower and canola oils.

Fiber

Fiber helps you feel full longer, and wards off constipation and hemorrhoids. Look for whole-grain cereals, breads and pastas, as well as fruits and vegetables with the skins on.

Carbohydrates

Carbs are a source of energy, and with fatigue as a common issue in the third trimester, you need all the energy you can get. Whole-grain breads, cereals and noodles are ideal, but also eat potatoes, rice and couscous.

Protein

Your baby is growing a lot faster now, so you need protein-rich food to achieve third-trimester protein requirements. Good sources of lean protein include lean meats, poultry, fish (but limit oily fish consumption to one or two times per week), eggs, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, soya and tofu.

Calcium

Calcium helps your baby grow healthy bones and teeth, and helps regulate fluids and reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis. You can get calcium from food such as milk, yogurt, cheese, tofu, broccoli and almonds.

Iron

Iron helps increase your blood volume as you and your baby’s needs increase. Getting enough iron also helps prevent anemia. Look for iron in fortified grains, tofu and dark-green leafy vegetables.

Folic Acid

Also called “folate” when it comes from food sources, in early pregnancy, folic acid helps reduce the risk of neural tube defects. Your folic acid requirements go up slightly in the third trimester, so get in your green, leafy vegetables, whole grains and fortified cereals.

Vitamin A

While too much vitamin A can be dangerous for your baby, your requirements are increased slightly. Your needs can be met through low-fat dairy products.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C aids in tooth and bone development, metabolic processes, and helps promote wound healing. Eat citrus fruits and berries to meet your increased requirements.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D not only supports bone health, but it promotes healthy cell division, supports breastfeeding, and helps you avoid preeclampsia. You can find it in fortified grains, eggs and oily fish.

What to Avoid

Now is not the time to worry about slowing or limiting weight gain. You need to support your child, and as long as you’re gaining a healthy amount of weight, you don’t need to worry about your weight. Consult your doctor about any diet, vitamin or supplement choices you want to make. Keep avoiding raw and undercooked meat and seafood, pates, soft cheeses, unpasteurized dairy products, juices, raw sprouts, processed or smoked deli meats, seafood and hotdogs. Stay away from liver products and high-mercury fish such as shark, swordfish, mackerel and tuna steaks.

Nutrition Counseling With Valley Perinatal Services

The earlier you start making healthy choices for you and your baby, the better, but it’s never too late to start. The perinatologists, nutritionists and counselors at Valley Perinatal Services are here to make sure you’re properly nourished, no matter what your pregnancy situation is. Whether you’re trying to feed multiple babies, or have concerns about diabetes or other health concerns, we will help you create customized and balanced dietary plans based on your needs. Talk with your Ob/Gyn about co-managing your pregnancy with Valley Perinatal. Call 480.756.6000 or contact us online.

Diabetes and Nutritional Management Programs at Valley

Making sure that you and your baby get the proper fuel is crucial to having a successful pregnancy that goes as well as possible. For women with gestational diabetes, it can be overwhelming to worry about nutrition on top of your diagnosis, and there is a lot to learn in a very short amount of time. That’s why Valley Perinatal is here to help Arizona mothers-to-be and their healthcare teams with their gestational diabetes care.

We have a specific program for diabetes care during pregnancy. Our team can create a nutrition program that fits your needs, whether you have preexisting diabetes, gestational diabetes, food allergies or intolerances, or are just concerned about your baby receiving the proper nutrition during your pregnancy. Our certified nurse practitioners can give you advice on nutrition and diabetes, meal and treatment plans, counseling sessions, and even insulin pump training and management for women who need it, regardless of how experienced you are with diabetes. Our team is also trained in specialized tests and services to make sure your little one is healthy throughout your pregnancy Talk with your Ob/Gyn about co-managing your pregnancy with Valley. Call 480.756.6000 or contact us online.