Here are some of the ways I am particularly nourishing my body in the third trimester to not only support my own body, but also facilitate healthy growth of my baby & improve birth outcomes!
#1 Hydration (Electrolytes!!)
By the third trimester plasma volume increases by 40-60%. The increase in plasma helps to maintain circulating blood volume, blood pressure and uteroplacental perfusion during pregnancy. However, electrolytes- namely sodium, potassium, & magnesium are also key players in maintain proper fluid balance both in general and in pregnancy. So as plasma volume increases, so does the demand of electrolytes.
In the case of replenishing electrolytes you want a balance of sodium & potassium
Studies, like this one, have also found that a decrease in sodium, potassium, and magnesium is associated with an increased risk of gestational hypertension
This is where mineral mocktails come in.
The basis of a mineral mocktail is essentially a drink that contain Vitamin C, sodium, potassium, & magnesium.
You can make a DIY one using lemon juice, coconut water, sea salt, some water, & either a magnesium supplement powder or capsule.
However, my favorite way to get in my minerals in my using Adrenal Cocktail Powder by Jigsaw! It has the perfect balance of sodium and potassium & is super easy to jus add to water (I’ll usually add extra lemon juice for flavor) For magnesium, I choose to supplement with capsules at night but you could use an unflavored or flavored magnesium powder. Based on my own needs, I usually try to get 2-3 mineral mocktails a day during the third trimester.
You can find my brand recommendations like the Adrenal Cocktail powder & Magnesium here!
Building healthy RBCs
After the birth of my first baby, Avery, I became quite anemic. So during this last trimester I wanted to work to prevent this by making sure I was giving my body all the nutrients it needs to build healthy Red Blood Cells (RBCs).
Iron deficiency anemia impacts your ability to make health RBC’s, including hemoglobin. One of hemoglobins main responsibilities is to bring oxygen to your tissues. This is especially important for the growth of a healthy baby- which is why your iron demands increase during pregnancy (especially the third trimester) and why iron deficiency has been associated with pregnancy complications such as premature birth.
In addition to iron, the nutrients required for healthy RBC’s also include vitamin C, vitamin A, copper, B-2, B-12, and B-3.
While you can absolutely get these nutrients through foods, I am someone who tends towards nutrient deficiencies so I choose to prioritize these foods AND use targeted supplementation during the third trimester.
How I’m supplementing?
Chlorophyll –> copper
Beef liver –> Iron, vitamin A, B vitamin, copper
Megafoods Blood Builder –> iron + vitamin C + extra B vitamins
Adrenal Cocktail Powder –> whole food vitamin C
Cod liver oil –> Vitamin A
Food Sources of these nutrients:
Vitamin C –> Citrus Fruits, Kiwi, lemons/limes, red/orange bell peppers, berries, camu camu powder, acerola powder, broccoli, dark leafy greens, potatoes
Iron & Copper–> Organ Meats. Red Meat, Bison, Shellfish, Dairy, Eggs, Nuts & seeds, cacao
B vitamins–> beef liver, meat (beef, chicken, turkey), dairy, legumes, avocado, eggs, whole grains, fish, nuts & seeds
Vitamin A: beef, lamb, cod liver oil, fatty fish, dairy, eggs, sweet potatoes, carrots, squash, plantains
Tightly regulating blood sugar balance
It is well known that pregnancy is a diabetogenic state. What does this mean? Well in pregnancy the hormone chnages, namely the increase in progesterone, increases hyperinsulinemia and insulin resistance. The goal of this is to allow the shunting of glucose to the foetus to promote development, while maintaining adequate maternal nutrition. Hyperinsulinemia & insulin resistance peaks in the third trimester of pregnancy.
While this was good when one’s diet is primarily whole foods and if you entered pregnancy in a healthy metabolic state- but the thing is, most women are not eating in a way that promotes healthy blood sugar levels even before pregnancy putting them at a higher risk of high blood sugar, hyperinsulinemia, and insulin resistance at a level that would decrease theirs & their baby’s health
If not managed properly, poor blood sugar control has been associated with:
- cesarean birth
- pre-term birth
- postpartum hemorrhage
- increased likelihood shoulder dystocia
- hypoglycemia in baby at birth
- macrosomia (being large at birth)
- increased NICU admission due to respiratory distress
Sounds a bit scary right?
This is why I am ensuring I am eating a diet that promotes healthy blood sugar regulation & utilization of insulin.
- Adequate protein (~25-35g), fat (~10-30g), & fiber (~8-15g) per meal
- Eating mineral rich foods (fruits, root vegetables, organic meats, eggs, nuts, seeds, veggies)
- Supplementing with magnesium (shown to help improve blood sugar regulation)
- Regularly timed meals / not skipping meals (I’m eating 4 meals per day, no snacks)
- Reducing stress (stress in and of itself can cause blood sugar issues)
- Adequate sleep
I am not trying to call anyone out because I understand exercise is hard during pregnancy, however, I think one of the biggest mistakes women make during pregnancy is stopping their exercise routine (or never having one at all…)
Exercising during pregnancy has time and time again shown to improve not only mom’s health but also improve birth outcomes & baby’s health!
I know it’s hard but one of the ways to prevent birth complications (& YES you can prevent them!) is by exercising.
What’s the best exercise? According to studies, moderate to low intensity is best in the third trimester. Vigorous exercise may be okay if this is the type of exercise you were doing prior to pregnancy.
So this would look like low intensity strength/weight training, pilates, body weight workouts, long walks, etc.
What am I doing?
I am currently OBSESSED and loving all the workouts inside the Sculpt Society Program! Not only do they have a Prenatal program, but when you sign up you get access to all the programs classes which includes everything from advanced programs to their postpartum program!
I won’t lie- there are lots of reasons to love collagen. The first thing to understand is that collagen protein actually makes up your tissues & ligaments. And what’s strengthening & growing during pregnancy? Tissues & ligament. During pregnancy, collagen needs increase by up to 1000% due to the growing uterus.
So I am doing both: supplementing with collagen + prioritizing foods that provide the body with the nutrients to MAKE collagen.
What brand am I supplementing with? I just made the switch from Vital Protein over to NEEDED Collagen (which you can find here under my “Prenatal” recommendations), as its batch tested for heavy metals and was designed specifically for prenatal mamas in mind.
To make collagen the body needs to amino acids proline, glycine and hydroxyproline, as well as the proper amount of vitamin C, zinc, copper and manganese
Foods to help make collagen: bone broth, sea food, eggs, skin on meats and tough cuts of meats like pulled pork, chicken wings/drumsticks, etc, citrus fruits, berries, leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, avocado, cacao
Hope this blog post was informational and informative on some things to focus on in the third trimester of pregnancy to not only support your health but the health of your baby and improved birth outcomes!
Wishing you Happy Hormones,