Diet in third trimester of pregnancy: Learn More

You would have gained weight during the second trimester and enjoyed the initial fetal movements. Now when you start moving into the third trimester, the intensity of the fetal movements increase, adding to your excitement of seeing your baby. There can also be mixed feelings of anxiousness. However, irrespective of these happenings, the focus should be on the proper nutritious diet to keep you physically fit for giving birth. A good diet is also required to ensure your baby’s healthy brain development, like most of which happens during this phase.

deit, third trimester of pregnancy

Following are the nutrients you and your baby need during the third trimester:

1.Protein (71gms/day)

Source: Soy products, beans, and grains. Many women simply get the extra protein they need by eating more of the foods they usually eat.

Importance: It is essential for the brain and overall tissue development in the child.

2.Iron (30 mg/day)

Source: Iron-rich foods like green leafy vegetables, pumpkin, whole grains, dried beans, all berries, dried fruits (prunes, raisins and apricots), lean meat, poultry, fish, liver, egg yolk, pork and crab. Grapes, Grapefruit, Oranges, Plums, Prune Juice and Watermelon.

Minimum three servings of iron-rich foods a day will ensure that you are getting 30 mg. of iron from your diet.

Importance: Iron supplements are commonly recommended along with iron-rich foods during the third trimester. Iron deficiency during the third trimester can make you anaemic, fatigued and decrease your resistance to infection. Severe iron-deficiency anaemia may lead to preterm delivery and/or low birthweight.


  • Include sources of vitamin C (orange juice, grapefruit juice, green peppers, broccoli, melon, strawberries, and cabbage) along with food containing iron or iron supplements.
  • Iron supplements should not be taken with calcium supplements and should be taken between meals to maximise iron absorption.

3.Calcium (1500mg/day) and Vitamin D:

Sources: Fatty fish (salmon), eggs, orange juice, soy milk, cereals, beef liver and cheese are rich in vitamin D. Sources of calcium are milk, yoghurt, cheese, leafy greens (spinach, turnip, kale, romaine lettuce, celery, broccoli, cabbage, asparagus and mushrooms) seafood, legumes.

Importance: It has been estimated that the foetus accumulates up to 250 mg/day calcium during the third trimester i.e., 25-30 g of calcium is transferred to the foetal skeleton by the end of pregnancy.

Vitamin D is obtained by exposure to ultraviolet B radiation or through dietary sources. Vitamin D help in calcium absorption and deficiency may lead to rickets (skeletal deformity) in infants.

4.Vitamin K (90mcg per day)

Sources: Green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, broccoli, foods fortified with the vitamin, fermented soybean foods and curd cheese.

Importance: Vitamin K together with vitamin D3 promote healthy bones in the baby. Inadequate quantity of vitamin K leads to ‘cholestasis’ (slowing of bile flow) in the mother. This condition is caused by a hormonally induced disruption of the flow of bile in the gallbladder. It is generally seen during the third trimester of pregnancy.

5.Omega-3 fatty acids (300 mg DHA daily)

Sources: Spinach, canola oil (can be drizzled over the salads), cauliflower, eggs, soybeans, walnuts, salmon fish. Vegetarians can use omega-3 algae oil as an alternative to fish oil.

Importance: Omega 3 fatty acid is required for baby’s brain development.

omega3, fatty acids

Studies suggest that intake of omega-3 fatty acid may help in-

  1. Reducing pregnancy-induced hypertension
  2. Reducing the risk of premature birth
  3. Increasing baby’s birth weight
  4. Improving baby’s IQ, visual and cognitive brain function

6.Weight (0.45kg/week450 calories/day)

Weight gain of 0.45kg/week is common during third trimester. For those who tend to put on weight slowly, an additional 450 calories per day in the third trimester is recommended.

Source: Soy milkshake (soy milk blended with fruit or soy yoghurt) in the evening for a few weeks. Other sources of calories are nuts and nut butter, soy products and dried fruits.

Few Dos and Don’ts:

  • Have fruits and vegetables five times a day
  • Do not consume more than two servings of oily fish a week
  • Do not gain too much of weight
  • Limit caffeine
  • Limit foods rich in sugar and fat (like chocolates, cakes and biscuits).
  • Quit smoking and consumption of alcohol.

Consult a top Dietitian/Nutritionist

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  • Vitamin K for Baby and Mom. vitamin-k-for-mom-baby.html. http://www.womens-health.co.uk/. Women’s health. Accessed on May 16,2016.
  • Vitamin D requirements during pregnancy. Bonny Specker. American society for clinical nutrition. 2004. Vol 80, 6, 1740S-1747s.
  • Consider Omega-3 Supplementation for the Health of Your Baby. American pregnancy association. http:// American pregnancy .org /first-year-of-life/omega-3-supplements-baby/  Accessed on May 16,2016.

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