Diet & Nutrition in the 3rd Trimester

Eating well is always harder when you don't feel well. As the size of the uterus grows, many women experience heartburn and indigestion. This may be due to overeating, but many pregnant women experience heartburn regardless of the amount or type of food eaten. There are some pregnancy-specific reasons why indigestion seems worse during pregnancy.

Your body makes the steroid hormones estrogen and progesterone, which relax smooth muscle in many places in your body. One place is the intestinal tract, where progesterone slows down digestion to allow more nutrient absorption from the food you eat. This is good for the baby, but can give you an uncomfortably full feeling.

Muscular relaxation due to the pregnancy hormones can also affect the ring of muscular tissue between your esophagus and stomach (the gastroesophageal junction). This muscle usually contracts to prevent the stomach contents and acid from splashing back up into the esophagus. When this muscle is too relaxed and open, these acidic contents can splash back up, giving you a burning feeling called ?reflux? or heartburn.

As pregnancy progresses, your enlarging uterus takes up more room in your belly and puts more pressure on your stomach.

While its likely that you will have some problems with indigestion and heartburn during your pregnancy, you can minimize them by avoiding gaining too much weight, wearing clothing that is loose around your abdomen, eating many small meals rather than a few large ones, and eating more slowly. You may also want to eliminate certain heartburn-causing foods, such as alcohol, chocolate, peppermint, coffee, and fried, fatty, or spicy foods. (Alcohol, chocolate, peppermint, and coffee can relax the gastroesophageal junction muscle tissue, leading to heartburn.)

8th Month

If you've been paying attention to your diet up until now, it may be time for a few rewards. As you get bigger and everyday activities become much more taxing, you might crave comfort foods. If your diet is balanced overall, you can definitely splurge on a few less-than-healthy foods, such as desserts or chips. If you do, stick to small portion sizes.

After Delivery

It is safe to resume your exercise program about six weeks after delivery. It is almost always okay to take walks and do gentle stretches. Since every woman's situation is different, ask your doctor about the safest time for you to resume more strenuous activities.