By the end of third trimester, some of you may feel burnt out or be tired of popping your prenatal pills. A variety of vitamins and minerals supplements are still essential in the last three months. You must remember that deficiencies worsen during pregnancy due to increased energy and nutritional demands. You must get all the healthy nutrients to ensure healthy growth and development of your baby and yourself. Take particular note of some of the supplements mentioned below.
- Folic acid – Folic acid is a B vitamin that may help prevent certain birth defects. Before pregnancy, you need 400 mcg (micrograms) per day. During pregnancy and when breastfeeding, you need 600 microgram per day from foods or vitamins. Food sources include leafy green vegetables, fortified or enriched cereals, breads and pastas.
- Iron – During the third trimester, iron intake is most important as most of the iron transfer to your baby occurs around this time. Iron helps the red blood cells deliver oxygen to your baby. During pregnancy, the volume of blood in your body increases, so does the need for iron. If you don’t have enough iron stores or get enough iron during pregnancy, you could develop iron deficiency anaemia. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of iron in third trimester is 30 milligram per day. Food sources include meat, poultry, fish, dried beans and peas, iron-fortified cereal.
- Calcium – Calcium helps strengthen your baby’s rapidly developing bones and teeth, and boosts muscle, heart and nerve development as well. Plus, it’s still as important as ever for your teeth and bones. Although bone formation starts during embryonic phase, it is during the third trimester that bone development is at its maximum. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations a dietary intake of 1200 milligrams per day of calcium for pregnant women is recommended. Food sources include milk, yogurt, cheese, calcium-fortified juices and foods, sardines or other fish with bones, and leafy greens vegetables such as spinach and salads.
- Protein – Protein is essential for the healthy growth of all baby’s tissues and organs, but especially the brain. It also helps mom for the enlargement of the uterus, mammary glands and placenta, formation of amniotic fluid and storage reserves for labor, delivery and lactation. It is recommended that you should take an additional at least 78 gram of protein per day. Food sources include lean meat, poultry, seafood, eggs beans and peas, nuts, seeds, and soy products.
- Vitamin D – Vitamin D works with calcium to help baby’s bones, teeth kidneys, heart and nervous system to develop. You need 10 micrograms of vitamin D per day and should consider taking a supplement containing this amount. Food sources include oily fish, including salmon, mackerel, and sardines, egg yolks, red meat, and liver, breakfast cereals, plant milks, soya products, mushrooms and fat spreads.
It’s important to speak with your gynaecologist and doctor before taking any prenatal vitamins or supplements. They can recommend the right dosages based on your individual needs and ensure that any supplements you take are safe for you and your baby.