Prenatal Vitamins in the 3rd Trimester

portrait of a pregnant woman smiling and holding a bowl of fruit salad
The need for adequate nutrition in third trimester is as important as first trimester. (Image: George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

During the last trimester of your pregnancy, you may deal with physical discomfort, lack of sleep, leg cramps, backaches, shortness of breath and loss of bladder control when you laugh or sneeze. Sex may be awkward and the baby's movements and positions may prove uncomfortable. But despite the discomforts, your baby still needs adequate nutrition, as do you. Vitamin supplements may still be needed under the supervision of your doctor.

Vitamin D and Calcium

The need for the fetus's growing bones is so great that without proper levels of calcium, the fetus will take calcium from your bones, especially in the third trimester when the bones are lengthening. This makes adequate levels of calcium a must. The role of vitamin D is to help the body utilize calcium. During pregnancy, vitamin D requirements are 600 IU per day. It can be obtained from exposure to sunshine, supplements or food sources such as salmon, sardines, fortified milk and orange juice. The daily requirement for calcium is 1,000 mg. Food sources include dairy products, tofu, white beans and Chinese cabbage.

Thiamine

Thiamine, or vitamin B1, may be needed in your third trimester under your doctor's supervision. Thiamine is required for the healthy nervous system, muscular system and cardiovascular health of the newborn. Infants breast fed from thiamine deficient moms may develop newborn beri-beri, a condition of the nervous system. The daily recommended allowance for thiamine is 1.4 mg per day. Food sources include fortified cereals, wheat germ, pork, peas and enriched long grain rice.

Folic Acid

Taking folic acid during pre-conception and the first trimester is important to prevent neural tube defects in your baby. But remaining on folic acid during the third trimester is equally important. This may ensure adequate fetal growth and prevent a low birth weight baby. Babies with low birth weights may have respiratory issues, infections and other health problems. The recommended daily allowance for pregnant moms is 600 mcg per day. Food sources include fortified foods, spinach, asparagus and lentils.

Vitamin C and E

In the third trimester, vitamin E, with the help from vitamin C, may prevent pre-eclampsia in pregnant moms. Pre-eclampsia is characterised by excessive protein in the urine and high blood pressure, possibly leading to premature birth. The recommended daily allowances for vitamin C are 85 mg. Food sources are oranges, grapefruits and sweet red peppers. The RDA for vitamin E is 22.5 IU per day and food sources include vegetable oils, such as olive and canola, and nuts.

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