Your partner is nearing the finishing line of her pregnancy.
The third trimester is really the final stretch of pregnancy, but after the second trimester where your partner may have had fresh vitality, she will now start to feel tired again as the baby reaches birth-weight.
Your partner has done a wonderful job growing the baby and your little one is now pretty much fully developed. However, much of your baby’s growth in this trimester is weight gain so they are at a safe weight for delivery. This means your partner will need roughly an extra 200 – 300 calories a day (equivalent to roughly two slices of toast with butter).
It’s best for her to concentrate on eating a nutritionally dense diet and women usually find they make up the calories by eating little and often. She will also probably be suffering with heartburn, so even if she loves a Vindaloo, it’s best avoided!
Although it can be tempting by this stage to become more lax about nutrition, it’s important for you to encourage her to stick to healthy meals.
Important nutrients in the third trimester (daily recommended amount):
Iron (27mg) – Most women need about 50% more than usual during pregnancy due to an increase in blood volume and red blood cells, meaning her body needs to make extra haemoglobin. Throughout the pregnancy, babies take all the iron they need from mum and towards the end, will be storing enough to last through the first 6 months after birth.
Vitamin C (85mg) – During pregnancy, women’s immune systems drop dramatically. It cleverly enables the body to accept a foreign body (the baby) growing inside it without fighting it off, however it does mean that – all through pregnancy – your partner is really susceptible to picking up every virus going around and getting it more severely and for longer. Vitamin C is wonderful for fighting infection!
Calcium (1200mg) – Like all nutrients in pregnancy, your baby takes what it needs first, so getting enough calcium is just as important to ensure that mum keeps strong bones as well as baby developing some. Again, this is something that needs to be taken throughout the pregnancy.
Vitamin K (90mcg) – This vitamin is actually crucial for helping your blood to clot – hugely important for your partner during labour and your baby after birth. All babies are born with low levels of Vitamin K but those who are deficient may bleed excessively from wounds such as the umbilical cord stump, or even spontaneously from the nose. Mums lacking this vitamin can also develop a condition called Cholestasis. If your partner is under 19 then she only requires 75 micrograms.
Magnesium (350 – 400mg) – Not only does this aid calcium absorption but it also helps to build and repair body tissues which women definitely need around labour. It has been shown to relax muscles and help leg cramps, which your partner may suffer from in the third trimester, and there are some suggestions that it may help prevent pre-term labour and contribute to making labour faster and less painful.
All recipes featured serve one, so simply double to eat together!
Green Bean and Feta Couscous Salad
With all the green vegetables and the sun-dried tomatoes in this salad being good sources of Vitamin K, your partner will be getting important nutrients for herself and her baby – especially around labour. You’re sure to impress her with this light and refreshing dish!
1 portion of couscous (see packet)
Mint (dried is fine)
1 cup of broccoli
4 x sun dried tomatoes
1 portion of spinach
1 cup of green beans
1 tbsp of pine nuts
Crème fraiche (optional)
Cook the broccoli and green beans on the hob, before draining and leaving to cool. Whilst cooling, measure out one portion of couscous, sprinkle liberally with mint to taste and shake so the herb is well distributed throughout the dry couscous. Add the recommended amount of water (usually ratio of 1 couscous: 2 water) and leave to soak up for 10 minutes. Wilt spinach in butter. Once couscous has been left to stand for the full time, fluff up with a fork. Add the vegetables, pine nuts and crème fraiche dressing if desired. Season now. Dice the Feta and sprinkle on top along with the sun-dried tomatoes (use scissors to cut these into pieces).
If you fancy, serve this with grilled chicken or a vegetarian option (Quorn etc.)
Bananas a la Noir
Your partner is likely to need foods that give her an energy boost, and these yummy banana-treats will definitely help! Both banana and dark chocolate are high in magnesium, while the yoghurt gives an extra nod to the calcium needed.
1 large and ripe banana
80g dark chocolate of choice
4 heaped tbsp of full fat vanilla yoghurt (or chosen sweet flavour)
Sprinkles of choice (ground almonds, desiccated coconut, dried fruit etc.)
Melt the chocolate over stove and gradually stir in the yoghurt. Chop banana into relatively thick round slices. Using either a lollypop stick in each slice, or forks, dip one by one into melted chocolate mixture, then your chosen sprinkles. (If you have chosen dried fruit then simply cut into tiny pieces in blender.) Place each slice onto a baking tray covered in greaseproof paper. Leave in the freezer until set and then store in an airtight container until your partner (or you) fancy a treat!
Get her to nibble on: Dried figs (magnesium, iron, calcium, fibre & Vitamin K!), dried prunes (fibre, Vitamin K), cashew nuts (calcium, iron), strawberries (Vitamin C, folate), halloumi (calcium), fresh mango (iron, calcium, Vitamin C, magnesium)