March 2, 2010

Nutrition for Last Trimester of Pregnancy

Posted in Category : Women's Health

The third trimester is the last stage of a pregnancy. The baby continues to experience essential developmental milestones such as brain development. The baby also gains considerable weight so that he/she will be healthy at the time of birth. The mother requires her energy reserves for the process of labor and the initial days of recovering from the pregnancy and caring for the newborn. Pregnant women however face difficulties in their eating habits during the last trimester as the developing baby exerts pressure on the abdomen making it difficult to eat.

Pregnant women are required to consume 300 calories or more daily in the last trimester of pregnancy. The maximum amount of weight gain occurs during this time. Dieting should not be undertaken during these months and the weight gain should only come from healthy foods and not junk or processed foods. Most women tend to crave junk food during the third trimester. This is because they generally feel too fatigued to cook anything, and picking up something from a store seems like a more convenient option. Anxiety and apprehension regarding labor and delivery also occurs at this stage and junk food may be perceived as comforting foods. This will actually have the opposite effect as junk food will not supply the body with the necessary nutrition and as such you will end up feeling worse, instead of comforted. For a quick meal, opt for vegetables and fruits. You can also add some cheese to your meal as this will provide the body with essential proteins. Feelings of anxiety may be alleviated by talking it out with your doctor or partner. This is far better than resorting to junk food. Large meals may not be tolerated easily by the body and hence it is advisable to consume lighter small meals at frequent times during the day. The stomach is likely to feel more cramped as the end of pregnancy approaches, and small meals will be more easily tolerated.

One of the most important foods that must be consumed during the last trimester is healthy fats. The baby’s brain continues to develop throughout the last weeks before birth and essential fatty acids are extremely important for this development. Essential fatty acids such as Omega 3s can be obtained from foods such as nuts and fish. Supplements may also be taken in case the foods cannot be tolerated. There are several essential fatty acid supplements meant especially for pregnant women and nursing mothers. During the last trimester also, you need to continue eating healthy foods. Lean protein, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and whole grains which were being consumed during the first and second trimester, must continue to be a part of the diet. Staying hydrated is also important and water must be consumed in plenty.