13 Jul Pregnancy: Month 8: What Our Dietitian Has To Say
You’re nearing the end of your pregnancy and by this time you will most likely be feeling uncomfortably heavy, moving around will be more tedious and you will be more tired than usual. Your baby will be gaining weight rapidly at this point, so you may find that you are extra hungry. But as the baby continues to grow and push upwards into your abdomen, you may find that you get full more quickly or that you experience heartburn when eating, due to less space available in your stomach. Getting in enough nutrients, protein and calories are as important as ever during this critical growth period so if you find that you are struggling to eat enough at meals or if heartburn is interfering with your eating habits, it’s important to work around this so that you can continue to get in all of the nutrients that you and your baby need.
You will be needing an extra 450 calories and a total of 71g of protein per day during the 3rd trimester. These extra calories are equivalent to about two slices of bread with peanut butter and a banana. So, you will need to eat an extra snack or slightly bigger portions in order to get in enough nutrients. However, large or heavy meals can lead to heartburn and are not always possible when you have a baby pushing on your stomach, so it’s important to keep your meals small and to rather eat every 2 – 3 hours to get enough nutrients in. Make sure each meal “counts” by choosing meals that are rich in nutrients. An easy way to know if your meal is nutrient rich is to make sure it is colourful and has lots of fruits and vegetables in it. You should also make sure to add a good source of protein such as beans, tofu, eggs, yoghurt or lean meat and some healthy fats such as hummus, tahini, nut butters, avocado, coconut, nuts or seeds to each meal. Try this delicious Peanut Stir Fry which is packed with vegetables, tofu and healthy fats from the peanut butter.
MY TOP TIPS FOR DEALING WITH HEARTBURN:
- Heartburn is exacerbated by eating fatty/oily, spicy and acidic foods. If you are struggling with heartburn, avoid eating any foods that fall into these categories.
- Heartburn usually occurs after meals, especially at night when one tends to recline soon after eating dinner, causing stomach acid to come up into the throat area. Staying upright for at least 2-3 hours after eating can help your food go down and prevent stomach acid from coming up into the oesophagus. If you must lie down or recline, prop yourself up on some pillows so that your upper body is elevated. Also aim to have dinner earlier so that there is time for your food to go down before going to bed.
- Avoid eating large meals as this increases the risk of heartburn, rather aim to eat small nutritious meals every 2 – 3 hours.