I’ll be honest… I was kind of intimidated by the third trimester. I felt so great in my second trimester, I didn’t want the good times to come to a crashing halt. Looking back though, I’d probably say that this third trimester has been my favorite.
People often tell me that I’m lucky after hearing about my relatively complication free pregnancy and I definitely agree. I’ve felt excited, balanced, healthy and really happy. I can’t totally attribute it to random luck though, like winning the lottery. Good pregnancy genes do run in my family (thanks mom!), but I also believe that eating well, staying active, and taking care of myself all greatly added to my smooth and enjoyable pregnancy.
What I am lucky for is being able to have discovered exactly what it took for me to personally feel my best. It’s not just an innate knowledge I possess though. I’ve been drawn to research and learn about healthy pregnancy well before I actually ever thought about having kids myself. Pregnancy can be an overwhelming time and there are a lot of changes going on in your body and your life. The positive experience that I had has really solidified my desire to help other women discover what it will take for them to feel vibrant through their own pregnancies. What that means will be very different for each person and it’s not a one-size-fits all approach.
That’s not to say that I wasn’t affected by pregnancy at all. I’ve had swollen feet and ankles for the last few weeks which is something I’d assumed was just a tad unsightly, so it shocked me to discover that it could also be a bit painful too. Self-pity welled up on days when I couldn’t even fit into my oversized comfy slippers. I also had to stop running at 30 weeks because it felt like a bowling ball was going to rip through my pelvic floor. Overall though, I’ve felt pretty fantastic with little of the aches, pains, poor sleep, digestive disturbances, heartburn or acid reflux often experienced late in pregnancy.
FOOD AVERSIONS & CRAVINGS
I was still waiting for the infamous “pregnancy cravings” if anything, I actually felt my appetite decreased substantially in the third trimester. As the babe grew my organs started becoming more and more jammed up into each other. My stomach had to fight to occupy enough space in my body causing a lessened desire for food. I also noticed a little thing called “the lazy’s” that crept in from time to time. This is when the thought of prepping food and doing dishes sounded arduous enough to make me rather just skip food all together. Even when I didn’t feel like eating though, I knew I had to make an effort to get something good in.
NUTRIENTS I FOCUSED ON
IRON & PROTEIN
So I wasn’t ravenous, to say the least, but the nutritional needs of a baby reach their peak during this time of rapid growth. This trimester still calls for higher levels of iron and protein. These are crucial to maintain increased blood volume levels and the growth and cellular development of your baby. They are also required for a healthy placenta, amniotic tissues, and maternal tissues.
The light fluttery movements felt in the second trimester are replaced by much stronger, sharper jabs in the third trimester. This is when the baby’s bones become more dense and developed, and when calcium becomes a key nutrient. It’s been drilled into us that calcium = dairy, but the calcium in dairy isn’t as bioavailable as we’ve been lead to believe. World health statistics show that osteoporosis is actually the most common in countries where the largest quantities of dairy products are consumed.
- Green Veggies: broccoli, collard greens, spinach, turnip greens, kale,
- beet greens
- Nuts & Seeds: almonds, sesame seeds, brazil nuts
- Fish: sardines, salmon
D3 & K2
Two other nutrients that are very important for bone health are the fat soluble vitamins: D3 & K2. The importance of D3 is being more widely recognized now, but K2 is still mostly an unsung hero. Traditional cultures consumed much higher amounts of K2 then we do today because their diets included more organ meats and naturally fermented foods.
D3 Sources: herring, salmon, sardines, pasture raised eggs yolk and safe sun exposure
K2 Sources: natto, traditionally fermented sauerkraut, pasture raised egg yolk, grass fed butter, chicken and beef (particularly organ meats)
Healthy fat is hugely important in the last trimester for many reasons.
- Your baby is adding padding to protect itself in the outside world.
- Your body is making additional stores of healthy fat (particularly naturally saturated fat) in preparation for breastfeeding and as a backup energy source in case of a long labour.
- The third trimester is a big period of development for your baby’s brain, which 60% of is made up of fat. Much of that fat is from essential fatty acids, specifically DHA. Women who consume omega-3’s in late pregnancy are also at lower risk of postpartum depression.
The benefits of this pregnancy wonder food can be seen HERE.
RASPBERRY LEAF TEA
Raspberry Leaf is one of the most widely used herbs in pregnancy. It is used as a tonic to strengthen uterine muscles and tone the pelvic floor in preparation for childbirth. I definitely noticed that it increased the strength and frequency of my Braxton Hicks. Due to this effect, many practitioners recommend not to start taking this herb until 35+ weeks.
And We Wait
All throughout this pregnancy, I’ve felt like the reality of an actual baby (outside of my body) was forever away. I’d guessed that our babe wouldn’t arrive until well past the estimated due date…. maybe because I wasn’t experiencing the discomforts that I’d expect with a birth nearing.
I’m now a week past “due” and can definitely feel a shift happening. It’s hard to describe, but there is an energy building inside of me that’s pretty powerful. Sometimes it makes me nauseous, sometimes it makes me giddy. I would describe it like being caught in the midst of a strong electrical weather storm. Experiencing the power that nature holds in these moments is extraordinary, but you’re reminded that this sort of power must be observed with the utmost reverence at all times.
After feeling little hands and feet just below the surface of my skin for so many months, it’s hard to believe that we’ll actually be with our little babe soon. I’m so excited to meet him or her face to face… and to finally find out if it is a him or a her! I’m also deeply grateful for the 41 amazing weeks we’ve already spent together.