You’re on the home stretch and it won’t be long before you get to meet your baby face to face! Perhaps you’re starting to feel uncomfortable in this third trimester as your belly continues to grow (just when you think it can’t get any bigger), and your baby might also be feeling uncomfortable as its living quarters get more cramped. It’s not just your body undergoing more change though, your baby also continues to develop and grow.
So, what changes is your baby undergoing in the third trimester?
- The central nervous system continues to develop, including the brain
- The lungs continue to develop and mature until birth and the baby begins to practise breathing
- The baby can open and close its eyes, and can detect light (if you shine a torch on your belly you may notice your baby move)
- Baby starts to store fat under the skin and rapidly gains weight, smoothing out those wrinkles
- The bones are fully formed
- Toward the end of your pregnancy from 33 weeks or so onwards, the baby’s head may ‘engage’ down in your pelvis ready for birth.
What can you do to support your baby’s growth and development in the third trimester?
Eat foods rich in vitamin D and calcium to support your baby’s bone development and normal brain development
You can obtain vitamin D and calcium from the following sources; salmon, sardines, broccoli, bok choy and other dark leafy vegetables, eggs, dairy products and sunshine.
Include foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids to support your baby’s eye and brain development
You can obtain omega 3 fatty acids from the following sources; salmon, sardines, trout, walnuts, chia seeds and flaxseeds (linseeds).
Ensure you are eating enough protein
Your baby’s rapid growth requires protein. Protein rich foods include; lean meat, chicken, fish, legumes, chickpeas, quinoa, buckwheat, nuts and seeds.
Keep up your exercise routine
Regular exercise helps to remove toxins and wastes from your body leaving all the good stuff for your baby. It will also help you through labour and with recovery post birth.
Find time to relax
I seem to be saying this all the time, however it is so important to find an activity that you find relaxing, such as deep breathing, drawing, reading etc. When you relax, your breathing slows and gives your body a chance to rest. When you are relaxed, your stress hormones are low and this allows for your body’s other hormones to do what they need to do in preparation for labour.
Speak to your naturopath about preparing your uterus for labour
There are a few herbs ideal for preparing your body for labour. The herbs can tone the uterus, support effective contractions, support your recovering post birth and assist with breastmilk production.
Are you worried you’re not eating well enough during the third trimester?
If your diet has not been as good as it could be, you may be feeling concerned your baby is not getting the right nutrients for its development. If this is the case, I can guide you on how to incorporate the nutrient rich foods you need into your daily and weekly meal plans, and assess whether nutritional supplements are required to boost your nutrient status.