Pregnancy

Diet Tips For Third Trimester

Puja Sharma Vasisht
Pregnancy

Created by Puja Sharma Vasisht
Updated on Feb 17, 2018

Diet Tips For Third Trimester

Now that you have entered the third trimester of your pregnancy, this is the time for planning. And this doesn't just mean planning for the baby's clothes and essentials, but for her proper nutrition and growth. You should now focus on increasing the amount of food, especially proteins, energy and other key nutrients vital for baby's growth. It is in this trimester, that the baby size increases from approximately 900 grams to about 3 kgs. This translates into your gaining around 2 kg per month. A total weight gain in this trimester should be around 5-6 kg.

How Many Calories Do You Need In The Last Trimester Of Pregnancy?

The increase in energy translates to extra calorie requirements. So you now need 550 kcal over and above the usual requirement. So, for example, if pre-pregnancy, the requirement was 1500 kcal, you will now need 1500+550= 2050 kcal per day.

Since extra calories are required, there are ways to increase your calories intake in a healthy way.

  1. You can add a nutritious snack in the evening or mid-morning. Some options are - small bowl of sprouts, a handful of soaked nuts, dried fruits, and vegetable idlis
  2. You may also increase the portion of your staple, i.e. rice or chapatti a little more than your usual intake. It could be half a small bowl of rice or half a chapatti more

Foods To Eat In The Third Trimester Of Pregnancy

The nutritional requirements of the growing baby in the third trimester require you to increase your intake of certain nutrients. Here are some tips on eating right to allow for your baby's development.

  1. Increase in proteins: Additional proteins are required for the growth of your baby, and the development of your own body tissues to support pregnancy. Extra proteins are needed not only for pregnancy but they also help in preparation of delivery, the delivery itself and the immediate post-partum period. Hence you should focus on protein rich foods in your diet. For this you may add,
    • Dairy products: Add a cup of milk or curd to your existing diet. if you are not too fond of taking these plain,add milk to porridge, or make some yummy milkshake or custard. Similarly,smoothies, raita or lassi are some delicious ways to include curd in your diet.
    • Beans and pulses:If you follow a vegetarian diet, then increase the intake of pulses, legumes and beans. These can be included in the form of bean sprouts salad, besan cheela, dhokla, andboiled black chana chaat
    • Egg:If you eat eggs, then do include those thrice a week in your diet as boiled eggs, omelets or pancakes, however you like them
    • Meat:If you eat meat, then include some fish, chicken or lean cuts of mutton. You may take these in curry form or as snacks like kebab or tandoori
  2. Calcium rich foods: Increasing calcium rich foods in diet helps in bone and teeth mineralization of the foetus. Insufficient calcium in your diet can result in demineralization (weakening) of maternal bones.
    • Include milk and its products like curd, cheese, lassi, buttermilk in your diet
    • Other good sources of calcium are dark green leafy vegetables, ragi flour and sesame seeds
    • Tofu, bean curd is made by curdling with calcium salts and is hence a good source of calcium
    • Consult your gynecologist for vitamin D supplements, asvitamin D helps in calcium absorption. For vitamin D include eggs, fish, milk products in your diet
  3. Iron rich foods: Another important nutrient during pregnancy is iron. It is needed for increased volume of blood to help in steady supply of nutrients to foetus. It is also required for proper growth and development of the foetus.
    • Dark green leafy vegetables:include vegetables like chulai, methi, sarson, and other green leaves in your diet. You may take these twice or thrice in a week
    • Legumes:Include whole beans and legumes like black channa or bengal gram, soybean, cowpea or lobia, and mung beans to further increase the intake of iron in your diet
    • Fruits: You may also add these iron rich fruits and dried fruits like watermelon, strawberries, raisins, and dates to your diet
    • Vitamin C rich foods:If you are a vegetarian then along with above mentioned iron rich foods, do include some vitamin C rich foods in your diet daily. Foods like amla or Indian gooseberry, citrus fruits like orange, sweet lime, lemons, and malta are good sources. Vitamin C helps in increasing the absorption of iron from vegetarian sources
    • Eggs and meat:If you eat non-vegetarian food,include some amount of egg, chicken and mutton in your diet to help in increasing your iron or hemoglobin levels
  4. Omega-3 fats: These play a role in both, fetal neurodevelopment as well as fetal birth weight. Hence, including this essential fatty acid in sufficient amounts in your diet becomes very important. You may meet its requirement by following ways in your diet (PMC2621042; James, Stacey and Wendy)
    • Specific oils: Include canola, soybean or flaxseed oil in your daily diet
    • Seafood:If you eat non-vegetarian food, then include at least two servings per week of any ofthese low mercury seafood - shrimps, salmon, catfish, sardines, and light tuna
    • Fish oil supplements:Using fish oil supplementation containing DHA and EPA (different forms of omega-3 fats) only after your gynecologist advice)
    • Reducing omega-6 content:Intake of omega-6 rich oils like sunflower, cottonseed, corn should be minimized, as these compete with omega-3 during absorption
  5. Folic acid: Folic acid is important to avoid deficiency of megaloblastic anemia and neural tube defects in foetus.
    • Pulses: Includegood sources of folic acid like pulses, legumes especially black chana and mung, green leafy vegetables especially spinach, chulai and mint
    • Fruits and Vegetables:Green beans, oranges and tomatoes are again good sources of this vitamin. You can make a salad of boiled chana with tomtoes and mint chutney to get your supply of folic acid
  6. Zinc rich foods: This micronutrient not only has a role in normal development of genetic material but is required for normal outcome of delivery. (Ian Darnton-Hill Adjunct Professor, Tufts University, USA and University of Sydney, Australia July 2013). Its deficiency may lead to abnormal deliveries, and congenital malformations. Good sources of zinc are shell fish, oysters, oatmeal, beans, nuts, soya, eggs and dairy products.
    • Iodine: Iodine is required for physical and mental growth of the foetus. Use only iodized salt during pregnancy for Iodine
  7. Vitamin K: This vitamin helps in normal blood coagulation or clotting. This helps prevent any neonatal hemorrhages or blood loss, during delivery. Though its natural form is injected to the mother or neonate, taking foods rich in these would always be beneficial both to mother and the baby. Foods which are a good source of this vitamins are spinach, broccoli, cabbage, spring onion, Brussel's sprouts, fermented soy and dairy products and prunes

Read More: Chart - Ideal Bay Weight during 4, 6 or 7 Pregnancy

What Food Should I Avoid During Late Pregnancy?

A nutritious diet, appropriate exercise and plenty of rest are important during pregnancy. There are some things that you're better off avoiding.

  1. Caffeine: While you don't have to completely give up your cuppa, remember that caffeine is a stimulant which can enter fetal circulation. A pregnant woman who takes excessive coffee may be at risk for premature delivery or small for date babies.
    • Some studies suggest that a consumption of caffeine of 300 mg per day may pose a risk
    • A study by NCBI(Can Fam Physicianv.59(4); 2013 Apr PMC3625078) suggests to restrict the coffee intake to not more than one to two cups of coffee in a day to be on the safer side during pregnancy
  2. Smoking: Thiscan lead to abnormalities of placenta and fetal damage, may lead to increased neonatal mortality and major congenital malformations
  3. Alcohol: Habitual use of alcohol can cause fetal damage and may lead to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome FAS. It leads to low birth weight, malformed structures, and hampers mental development

Suggest Reading: 

Coffee during Pregnancy

Avoid Foods during Winter Pregnancy

Indian Diet Plan For Third Trimester Of Pregnancy

Since your requirements of energy, protein and other nutrients are increased, you need to eat extra foods. Here are some general diet tips.

It is advisable to take 5-6 small meals in a day, rather than three large meals. Have cereals in combination with pulses for better protein quality.

  1. Chapattis and rice with dal
  2. Khichri with vegetables (the khichri will take care of the rice and dal)
  3. Idlis and dosa
  4. Suji-besan cheela
  5. Have a snack between breakfast and lunch and another snack between lunch and dinner
  6. Include milk, eggs, fish, meat for higher quality of proteins in your daily diet
  7. Since constipation is a common problem in pregnancy take fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grain cereals, dals with husk and plenty of fluids

Here Are Some Options That You Can Try Out For Your Different Meals

Early morning snack: As soon as you wake up, once you've had a glass of lukewarm water, have a small snack like a few nuts, or even a glass of your favorite milkshake.

  1. Breakfast: It isn't in jest that we say, "Breakfast like a queen!" Your most important meal of the day needs to be balanced and nutritious. Here are some options
    1. Stuffed parathas (aloo, radish, methi, paneer, or even a mix of everything!)
    2. Poha with veggies
    3. Steamed sevai (a type of vermicelli) with a dash of lemon juice
    4. Vegetable idlis with sambar
    5. Fruit platter with cheese (be careful to have pasteurized cheese only)
  2. Pre-lunch snack: Have a light soup – tomato, spinach or sweet corn before lunch.
  3. Lunch: Here are a few options (both vegetarian and non-vegetarian) that you can try for lunch
    1. Rice and dal (toor, moong, black urad, or any other dal of your choice)
    2. Chapattis, vegetable and dal
    3. Khichri with raita and roasted papad
    4. Salads (chicken or vegetable) and whole wheat bread
    5. Chicken curry with chapatti
    6. Sambar (with ladies finger or drumstick), and rice, with a vegetable dish on the side
    7. Bisibele bath (a type of khichri made in Southern India) with lots of vegetables, and curd on the side
  4. Evening snack: When it's a couple of hours after lunch and you start feeling peckish, try one of these.
    1. Fruit smoothie with yoghurt
    2. Veggie cutlets
    3. Cheese sandwich made of whole wheat bread
    4. Uthapam with veggies
  5. Dinner: Eat a light dinner, and not too late (at least two hours before bed)
    1. A cup of rice with dal palak
    2. A light pulao with curd

Things To Watchout For During The Third Trimester Of Pregnancy

While you pay special attention to your diet and general health, watch out for these things during your third trimester

  1. Pre- Eclampsia:If you have water retention and your blood pressure is going up, consult your gynecologist. Early diagnosis is important to prevent the condition from becoming severe. Restrict your salt intake and get plenty of rest
  2. GDM or gestational diabetes: When diabetes is detected for the first time during pregnancy or there is a history of diabetes during previous pregnancies, watch out for the signs.
    1. If you have symptoms like excessive urination especially at night, excessive thirst, increased appetite or a tingling sensation felt in hands and feet, the chances are you have developed GDM.
    2. Restrict intake of sugar, sweets and too much of fat. Take whole grain cereals and pulses, and do some exercise to improve your insulin sensitivity. Do take advice of a diabetologist or a clinical dietitian, if you have been detected with GDM

The end of the tunnel isn't too far when you're in your third trimester, and soon you will be rushing to the labor room. Take good care of your health and enjoy your pregnancy before the chaos of motherhood sets in. Have a happy and safe pregnancy!

Did these third trimester pregnancy diet tips help you? Let us know in the comments section!

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