Nutrition in the third trimester

By Akii Ngo, Bump Babes

PBC Expo spoke with nutritionist Akii Ngo who works closely with Bump Babes, to find out about nutrition in the third and final trimester of pregnancy, what foods can assist with your mood and what foods you should avoid.

What nutrients are important during the second  trimester?

As per trimester 1 and 2 plus, in particular, the good fats (unsaturated, omega 3s, 6s) for good brain development, quality proteins, Zinc, Calcium, Magnesium, Vitamin D (for absorption and use of Calcium), Iron, Vitamin C  (you need 25% more in T3 and to help use an absorb Iron), Vitamin K and Thiamine. This is the stage where the child is growing the most, so it is important to ensure that a healthy diet all key nutrients, packed with necessary vitamins and minerals are still maintained throughout the diet.

How does food help during the last trimester with baby development?

T3 is where the bulk of the baby’s growth occurs, and can be mirrored through the mother’s weight gain. It is also the stage where you can eat that little bit more than in T1 and T2, increasing to 450-500 calories extra (1890kj-2100) per day. Eating high quality, nutritious food will help during the last trimester with baby development by facilitating high quality nutrients of the mother’s diet to the baby.

What should women avoid eating/drinking at this point?

As per T1 and T2 always keep hydrated by drinking water. Avoid high saturated fat, low quality; low nutrition foods and soft drinks throughout pregnancy as is commonly referred to as “wasted nutrition” that otherwise fuelled the baby. Moderation is key, however, such foods may worsen some symptoms of pregnancy i.e. sore gums, nausea, vomiting, and weight gain.

How should women expect to be feeling? Are there any foods that can aid this?

Every women’s experiences are different but symptoms of nausea, vomiting, swelling, back pain, breast enlargement (sometimes pain), heartburn, shortness of breath, dizziness, frequent urination and hair growth as mentioned in T2 symptoms can resonate to T3.

Towards the end of T3, contractions can occur which your body is warming up for the real thing.

Nutrition in T3 should be a reflection of a healthy diet maintained through T1 and T2. As symptoms may be worse for those expectant mothers experiencing them, it is important to maintain a positive headspace, seek guidance, support, spend time with loved ones and ensure a positive relationship is kept with food. Keeping physically active and hydrated also helps with ensuring your body positively metabolises nutrients. Nutrition post-natal, especially during lactation and breastfeeding also differ from nutrition during pregnancy.

Note: The views and advice expressed on this blog post are those of the author and are not representative of the Pregnancy Babies & Children's Expo.

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