Pregnancy Week 30: Third Trimester Nutrition

31 weeks pregnant

10 more WEEKS?! How did that happen? I feel like I was just at 20 weeks, the halfway point, and now it’s like he’s practically here!

Last week I talked a little about childbirth preparation from the vantage point of reading and learning. This week I wanted to focus more on what kinds of strategies I’m implementing nutritionally for the birth and postpartum recovery.

As I entered my third trimester, I knew I wanted to step up my nutrient-game if for no other reason than the fact that in a time full of things that I cannot control, I can greatly affect my (and babe’s) health and wellbeing by filling my body with healthy, nutritious foods. I’ve noticed in the world of pregnancy, this time is often used as an excuse to eat more junk food. I get it. Late in pregnancy you find yourself constantly hungry, kind of uncomfortable with an ever-increasing midsection, less flexibility, and a cultural environment that encourages “naughty” indulgences because “hey! You deserve it mama-to-be!”

As I look towards labor, delivery, and recovery I decided to take a little bit of a different approach.

I want to look at these next couple of months as training. Like training for a race, competition, or difficult endurance event. From what I can tell, labor and birth is pretty rough and if something goes “awry” and you end up needing a C-section, now you’re also recovering from surgery WITH a newborn. Not an ideal recovery environment.

Essentially my goal is to enter into this next time of pregnancy and motherhood with as much of a physically “full tank” as possible. Can I control the length of labor, the intensity of labor, an emergency birth, a fussy or difficult newborn or the lack of sleep that will ensue? NOPE. For the most part, that stuff is out of my hands. However, I do feel an overwhelming sense of empowerment over my ability to choose what foods I feed my body and baby, my activity level, my social connections, my relationship with my husband, and my rest.

Nutritionally I want to emphasize (as always) whole real foods for my additional calories. During my second trimester, I had begun to rely on a lot of protein or energy bars to deal with my hunger in-between meals. I also allowed myself to occasionally enjoy some indulgences that I typically don’t eat, like gluten-free pizzas, gluten-free brownies, dates to go get ice cream, etc. No judgement over these choices, but as a non-pregnant person, I wouldn’t typically choose those things. Not out of deprivation or fear, but they aren’t really a part of my “diet”.

Frozen Yogurt

Here’s my nutrient-seeking strategy for the next couple of months leading up to baby Atlas’ arrival:

more vegetable and protein-rich meals
(salmon salads, roasted vegetables and grass-fed beef)
instead of
meal replacement bars or convenience foods
(toast, GF pizza, or smoothies)

fruits and colorful starches
(bananas, yams, plantains, and berries)
instead of
simple sugars
(treats, homemade or store-bought)

more intentional addition of superfoods
(collagen, digestive enzymes, blood support, fermented foods)

Other healthy behaviors that I intend to emphasize include:

-more rest in the form of naps. I’m a chronically “productive” person so it’s difficult for me to allow myself rest during the day.

-more sunlight. Cause it just feels good and replenishing to me. I always feel more alive after being in the sun.

-general avoidance of PUFA and industrial oils like sunflower, safflower, canola. I don’t cook with them at home but when I eat out, eat too many nut-based treats, or buy processed foods like chips or vegan/GF products I get more of these fats than I want. They certainly will not do me any favors pre- or post-birth.

-avoidance of caffeine and alcohol. Cause, duh. I haven’t been downing any bottles of gin, but the occasional glass of wine or non-decaf coffee happens every so often. I’m almost never glad that I made that choice. My body doesn’t like it and that’s a pretty clear signal to stay away.

That’s it! My game plan. Obviously I’m not going to be crazy restrictive or stressed about this strategy (cause that would most certainly backfire) but I feel positive about having a general strategy for this last little bit of calm before the storm!

Thanks for joining me on my journey!

A great resource for nutritional recommendations for each trimester can be found at:

Meg the Midwife’s blog, cavegirlplusone.com

I also found this helpful:

Nourishing Joy, Foods for Labor

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