How Often Should You Eat in the 3rd Trimester?

Reviewed on 4/7/2022
Pregnant woman standing on a scale
Many expectant moms need to eat six smaller meals throughout the day and an additional 450 additional calories per day in the third trimester.

The third trimester refers to the last three months of a pregnancy, lasting from weeks 29 to 40. As the fetus continues to grow and develop and turn itself head-down in preparation for delivery, most women experience a number of uncomfortable symptoms. 

  • In the third trimester, the baby is likely pushing on its mother’s stomach which can make it uncomfortable to eat a full meal. Many expectant moms need to eat six smaller meals throughout the day. 
  • During the first trimester (first three months) women do not usually require extra calories, and during the second trimester (second three months) women usually need about 340 additional calories per day. 
  • During the third (last three months) trimester women usually need about 450 additional calories per day. Most people should gain about one pound per week in the third trimester if they are eating enough.

What Are Foods to Eat in the Third Trimester?

Expectant mothers need to continue to consume a healthy diet with essential vitamins and minerals for a healthy pregnancy. Good foods to eat during the third trimester include: 

  • Sources of folic acid 
    • Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, and chard (also good sources of vitamin K)
    • Whole grains
    • Fortified cereals
    • Beans
    • Citrus fruits
  • Sources of vitamin C
    • Fresh fruit (also good sources of fiber)
      • Berries
      • Citrus fruits
      • Kiwis
      • Melon 
      • Papaya
  • Sources of vitamin D
    • Oily fish
    • Eggs
    • Supplements, if recommended by your doctor
  • Sources of calcium
    • Milk products such as some cheeses
    • Tofu
    • Yogurt 
    • Nuts 
  • Sources of protein
    • Lean meat
    • Fish
    • Poultry 
    • Lentils
    • Beans
    • Tofu
    • Legumes
  • Sources of magnesium
    • Almonds
    • Pumpkin seeds
    • Barley
    • Oats
    • Beans
    • Artichokes 
  • Sources of iron
    • Meat
    • Dairy products
    • Eggs
    • Wheat bran
    • Beans
  • Water
    • It’s important to stay hydrated

What Are Foods to Avoid in the Third Trimester?

Foods to avoid in the third trimester include:

  • All fast food
  • Carbonated beverages such as sodas 
  • Chocolate
  • Cookies, cakes, and other pastries
  • Oils and salad dressings
  • Added salt and salty foods such as potato chips and French fries
  • Raw vegetables
  • Spicy Foods
Reviewed on 4/7/2022
Image Source: iStock Images