The third trimester includes week 28 to week 40 of a pregnancy. It can be both physically and emotionally the most challenging for a pregnant woman. 

HEALTH ISSUES EXPERIENCED BY THE TO-BE MOMMIES:

  • Weight Gain: This is due to the baby's size, large breasts, placenta, amniotic fluid and uterus. The increased volume of blood and fluid along with some extra fat stored also result in weight gain.
  • Continued Breast growth: The breast size might be quite huge by now, perhaps weighing 1 kg. As the delivery date approaches, you might even find leakage of yellowish fluid. This is going to nourish your child in first few days.
  • Backaches and Contractions: Joints between the bones of the pelvic area starts relaxing resulting in backaches. You will feel contractions every now and then. They most often come and go unpredictably. True labour contractions will be stronger, longer and closer too.
  • Heartburn: The growing uterus pushes the stomach which results in heartburn. Eat small and frequent meals instead of taking heavy ones. Drink lot of water and fluid. Avoid fried and spicy food, carbonated drinks and citrus fruit.
  • Swelling: Your feet and ankle might get swelled because of the pressure the growing uterus puts on veins.
  • Constipation: As your belly expands and your baby grows, your intestines are actually displaced. You will also have increased water absorption in your body leading to drier stools. This along with increased progesterone, which has a sluggish effect on your metabolism, can lead to constipation.
  • Frequent urination: Since the baby has grown in size the uterus gives pressure on your bladder, thus causing frequent urination.

NUTRITION IN THIRD TRIMESTER PREGNANCY

Nutrition during these last three months is crucial for both the mother and the growing baby. At the same time, the main concern for most to-be mothers is the excessive weight they are carrying. Both these concerns can be taken care of, by making sure you follow a well-balanced diet every day.

As your baby’s nutritional needs increase during the final growth spurt of pregnancy, mothers may be at a risk of developing nutritional deficiencies. You must have to make sure that whatever eaten is nutritious, and at the same time, provides the extra calories that you need. Also, the baby gains maximum immunities from the mother in the last trimester, so eating healthy will also lay the foundation for your baby’s good health in the long run.

The extra energy that is required during pregnancy is only  300 kcal/day and any consumption above this will only add empty calories and weight to the mother.

For appropriate meal planning during pregnancy, foods from all the groups should be included. 

Cereals and Grains

FOOD SOURCES:

  • Jowar/ Ragi
  • Oats
  • Wheat flour + powdered oats
  • Wheat flour + wheat bran

SERVING SIZE /DAY: 6 servings

Pulses and Beans

FOOD SOURCES:

  • Bengal gram
  • Black gram
  • Green gram
  • Chickpeas
  • Chana
  • Moong
  • Rajma
  • Lentils
  • Soybean
  • SERVING SIZE /DAY:  3 servings

Milk and milk products:

FOOD SOURCES:

  • Buttermilk
  • Curd/yogurt
  • Paneer/Tofu

SERVING SIZE /DAY: 2 servings

Green leafy and other vegetables

FOOD SOURCES:

  • Green leafy vegetables – spinach, cabbage, lettuce, amaranth
  • All other veggies

SERVING SIZE /DAY: 4 servings 

Fruits:

FOOD SOURCES: All except papaya & pineapple 

SERVING SIZE /DAY:  4 servings

Nuts:

FOOD SOURCES:

  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Pistachio
  • Cashewnuts

SERVING SIZE /DAY:  1 handful 

FILL YOUR PLATE WITH THESE 

NUTRIENTSFolic Acid:

FOOD SOURCES:

  • Most important nutrient during this trimester of pregnancy
  • Main sources include green leafy vegetables, beans & citrus fruit

Calcium:

FOOD SOURCES:
  • Calcium needs are doubled as the fetus developsImportant for bone & teeth development and management
  • Nuts like almonds, milk and milk products like paneer, buttermilk, curd should be made part of the daily diet

Iron:

FOOD SOURCES:
  • Anaemia being very common makes iron the most important nutrient
  • This becomes even more important as your body will increase the supply of blood to the placenta
  • This includes dates, broccoli, green leafy vegetables and whole grain bread

Fiber:

FOOD SOURCES:

  • Constipation, a crippling problem plagues many women during this time
  • You must incorporate fiber-rich foods such as beans, pulses, brown rice, peas and nuts

Proteins:

FOOD SOURCES:

  • Proteins should be consumed in moderation keeping in mind their fat content
  • Milk and milk products, eggs, fish and poultry are the best sources

B Vitamins, Vitamin C, B6 and B12

FOOD SOURCES: Very essential for healthy growth of the placenta as well as for breaking down other dietary nutrients such as proteins, and for the development of the unborn baby's muscular system, this includes citrus fruits, bananas, chickpeas and wholegrain cereals amongst a few.