During the third trimester, the baby's body and brain is developing at a faster rate than in the prior two trimesters. As vessels for our unborn children, our nutrition can play a large part in contributing to better development. Furthermore, the right blend of nutrients can also make the last three months of pregnancy, and the post pregnancy period run a bit smoother for us. While it is essential to consume a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, fiber, calcium, and fat, here are a few things I am especially packing into my diet during the third trimester.
DHA Omega 3 fats are good fats that we should be consuming plenty of (unlike potato chips and french fries) because they are major players in brain and eye development. This makes these special fats even more important during the 3rd trimester, when brain development is at it's peak. Studies have shown that babies born to mothers consuming lots of DHA during pregnancy have better hand-eye coordination and problem solving skills as infants.
However, omega 3 fats are not just great for our babies, they're also super for the moms. DHAs can lead to a lowered risk of postpartum depression and preterm labor. Also, the DHAs can help keep those pregnancy hormone mood swings more moderate. I've remarked several times that my moods are actually more balanced during my pregnancy than they were pre-pregnancy. Perhaps this has something to do with all the Omega 3s I have incorporated into my diet.
Here are a few easy ways I throw some Omega 3s into my diet:
- 1 omega 3 egg every morning
- Flax seeds (sprinkled on salads)
- Seaweed salads (I get them at sushi restaurants)
- Fish (safe fish for pregnant women include: salmon, canned tuna, sardines, mackerel, herring, halibut, cod, haddock, catfish, flounder, trout, lobster, crab, shrimp, clams, scallops, cooked oysters, anchovies). I try to eat fish at least 3 times per week
Kale is what many like to call a super food because it is great source of vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese, dietary fiber, copper, calcium, vitamin B6 and potassium. Wow!
One thing I really love is that thanks to the manganese, Kale is an excellent source for antioxidants and energy. I've already been consuming a pretty good portion of Kale in my smoothies, but thanks to a recommendation from my dad, I'm now making Kale salads. I was feeling a bit sluggish yesterday so I ate a kale salad, and within a couple of hours, I felt much more energized.
Try this Kale salad recipe:
- 2 cups of kale
- 1 cup of spinach lettuce or chard
- 1 boiled egg
- 1 tomato
- 1/2 cup feta cheese
- 1 avocado
- 1 Persian cucumber
- olive oil & balsamic vinegar for dressing
Kale can be a little bitter, but if you can get beyond that by adding in lots of other ingredients, eating Kale raw makes it a better source of dietary fiber
Calcium is essential for bone and teeth health for mom and baby. However, for the baby, the third trimester ushers in rapid skeletal growth, so calcium is even more important. If we aren't consuming enough calcium to provide for our growing little one during the third trimester, then our bodies will compensate by taking calcium reserves from our body, which leads to calcium depletion.
Obviously milk is an excellent source of calcium, but sesame seeds are also great. 1/4 cup of sesame seeds provides 35% of the daily recommended calcium value.
I honestly cannot say enough about how much I LOVE SMOOTHIES. For me, it is a fast and easy way to pack myself with a large portion of the recommended daily value for fruits, vegetables, and calcium (basically, all those good things I should be consuming, especially in the 3rd trimester) to help keep me and my baby healthy.
A smoothie packed with lots of green leafy vegetables is also a great source of fiber. Fiber is important for easing or preventing constipation, which is a common pregnancy complaint. I am happy to say that I haven't suffered from this problem yet, and I think I owe a lot of that to my smoothies. Also, due to the high nutritional content, my daily smoothie helps keep my energy level up. I've noticed when I go for a few days without a smoothie, my body feels much more sluggish.
As an added bonus, consuming plenty of vitamin C rich foods increases skin elasticity, which may prevent stretch marks.
These are a few of my favorite smoothie ingredients, and the reasons I love them:
- Kale (vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, folic acid, B vitamins, calcium, disease fighting phytochemicals, constipation fighting fiber)
- Chard (vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, folic acid, B vitamins, calcium, disease fighting phytochemicals, constipation fighting fiber)
- Spinach (iron, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, folic acid, B vitamins, calcium, disease fighting phytochemicals, constipation fighting fiber)
- Carrots (vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, folic acid, B vitamins, calcium, disease fighting phytochemicals, constipation fighting fiber)
- Ginger (great for digestion)
- Blueberries (vitamin C)
- Blackberries (vitamin C)
- Strawberries (vitamin C)
- Vitamin A&D fortified Milk (calcium, vitamin A, vitamin D)
As pregnant women, we need to drink at least eight 8-ounces glasses of water per day. As with smoothies, drinking plenty of water can help ease or prevent constipation. In addition, it keeps skin soft and healthy, helps eliminate toxins, reduces swelling, and reduces the risk of preterm labor