You may feel as though the last two trimesters have flown by. Or perhaps there were some challenges for you and it feels longer than six months since you started this journey.
During the final trimester of your pregnancy, your body prepares itself for labour and your baby continues to grow and mature. He or she gains more weight, the brain continues to develop, the bones harden, the taste buds develop, and your baby may even hiccup.
Taking the right supplements throughout your pregnancy sets your baby up for the best possible start in life. For example, taking a specific probiotic in the later stages of pregnancy can help to reduce the tendency towards allergies such as eczema, especially if they run in the family. Antibiotics during the pregnancy, on the other hand, increase the chance of your baby being hospitalised for an infection in the first 12 months of his or her life.
Boosting your intake of vitamin E-rich foods can further help reduce your baby’s risk of developing allergies and asthma. Vitamin E also acts as an antioxidant and keeps your skin, hair and muscles healthy. Great dietary sources include green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, avocadoes and eggs.
Looking after your own gut health with probiotics and fibre-rich foods such as vegetables, wholegrains, legumes, oat bran and nuts has a direct impact your baby’s microbiome, which greatly influences their future health and immunity.
While you may have experienced morning sickness in early pregnancy, many women have a healthy appetite in the third trimester. You may, however, experience indigestion as the hormone progesterone relaxes the muscles of your digestive system, allowing stomach acid to leak back up into the oesophagus and resulting in indigestion and heartburn. An effective way to manage this is to eat little and often, eat slowly, avoid eating late at night, and reduce fatty and spicy foods. A peppermint or ginger tea is also very helpful.
The importance of fibre and fluids
Dietary fibre is especially important in the third trimester as it helps to keep your digestive system working properly. Constipation is a common complaint in later pregnancy and can cause sluggishness, fatigue and also haemorrhoids. Keep up your fibre intake and drink at least 2 litres of water daily to help promote regular bowel movements. Fibre-rich foods include avocado, berries, coconut, figs, beans and lentils, wholegrains, flaxseeds and chia seeds, and all non-starchy vegetables.
5 top tips from The Pregnancy Naturopath
Congratulations on all the wonderful work you have done to support your and your baby’s health throughout your pregnancy. I hope you have enjoyed learning more about the different trimesters. Here are my top 5 tips for staying healthy in pregnancy and beyond:
- Eat a diet based on quality wholefoods and cater to the specific needs of each trimester
- Look after your gut health with specific probiotics, food and fibre
- Work with a naturopath for effective tailored dosing of high quality vitamins, minerals and herbs
- Exercise regularly with an emphasis on pelvic floor strengthening, weight bearing exercises and pregnancy specific activities
- Practice stress reduction techniques to enhance your mood.