Pregnancy Nutrition: The Most Important Nutrients in the Third Trimester—And How to Get Them

Read up on first and second trimester nutrition in our pregnancy nutrition series, plus what you need for breast-feeding.

Ah, the third trimester. The finish line is almost in sight, even if it feels *so* far away. Like your entire pregnancy, this is a wild time, but things are getting real. That cute little belly becomes downright unwieldy, nothing fits anymore, your back is killing you, you have to pee every five minutes, and the urge to deck out that nursery is literally all-consuming. Meanwhile, your baby has graduated from those awe-inspiring little flutters to serious kicks that can stop you in your tracks and is busy stretching, rolling, and wriggling into that head-down position—all while packing on weight.

It’s thrilling and exhausting, and if we’re being honest, it’s seriously uncomfortable. But you’re so close! You can do this, mama, and to help you and your baby stay strong and healthy on the last leg of this journey, we’re sharing all of the important nutrients you both need.

Third Trimester Milestones

With a rapidly-growing little person inside your abdomen, this is a stage of various aches and pains. Deep breaths can be tricky, getting comfortable for sleep may be next to impossible, and those Braxton-Hicks contractions can send even veteran moms racing to the hospital. Your skin might feel dry and itchy, stretch marks may appear, and constipation, heartburn, and indigestion could also strike.

While you navigate all of this, your baby is busy prepping for life on the outside:

    • Your baby can see and hear!
    • Lungs and kidneys are rapidly maturing, and that little brain continues to develop too.
    • Your baby practices breathing and may even be dreaming.

Third Trimester Nutrients

As you and your baby round third base and sprint for home, you both need a special set of nutrients that will support that growing little immune system and help you prepare for labor and delivery.

    • Vitamin C. You needed this nutrient in the second trimester, and that requirement only increases during this stretch of your pregnancy. The right amount of vitamin C—100mg—helps prevent high blood pressure and the risk of preeclampsia. Plus, it can help minimize swelling in the hands, feet and face.
    • Vitamin D. Another key player in the second trimester, vitamin D continues to be critical to reduce your risk of preeclampsia, low birth weight and preterm birth. Remember, a full one-third of women in the US are deficient in vitamin D, even when they aren’t pregnant, and not every prenatal vitamin out there has the recommended amounts to fill the gap. 
    • Folate and B12. This mighty duo helps build healthy blood levels to support you in preparation for delivery and keeps your energy levels up.
    • Calcium. This is critical for your baby’s bone formation, and it will support your digestion and ease symptoms of heartburn.
    • Magnesium. This nutrient helps minimize leg cramps.
    • Iron and vitamin K2. Both nutrients play key roles during your entire pregnancy, but at this stage, they help support increased blood volume and strengthen and tone the uterine wall as you prepare for a c-section or vaginal delivery.

At this stage, you should have nothing but complete confidence that your prenatal vitamin is delivering all of the nutrients you and your baby need. If you’ve been on the Beli train, you know you’re covered with the most bioavailable nutrients in all the right amounts. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case—many of the most popular prenatal vitamins on the market are lacking in key nutrients or recommended levels of those key nutrients, which means they aren’t properly supporting you or your baby. Yikes.

At this stage in the game, you still need a scientifically-aligned formula based on current recommendations, and you’ll want to continue taking your prenatal after delivery and in the post-natal stage, too (whether you’re breastfeeding or not!). Studies confirm that this continued supplementation can directly benefit your baby, so keep popping those pills.

Tips for Third Trimester Nutrition

You’re not imaging things—it really can be harder to eat these days, what with an entire little person taking up residence somewhere below your rib cage. Try to prioritize protein—your need for this particular macronutrient skyrockets after 31 weeks, up 73% from your daily requirement pre-pregnancy. That’s roughly 100 grams a day, and don’t skip the fat, either. Fill up on eggs, Greek yogurt, grass-fed dairy, nuts and seeds, and lean meats. 

If you’re dealing with heartburn or indigestion, try eating smaller meals more frequently. Chew your food thoroughly, and plan your meals so you aren’t eating within a few hours of going to bed. A little ginger may also settle your stomach. Make a point of drinking between meals, but not with your meals, and avoid fried, spicy, or fatty foods.

It won’t be long before you’re holding that sweet baby in your arms, so keep your eyes on the prize, trust Beli for Women to deliver all the nutrients you both need, and hang in there!