Today, Willow and I wrap up a three-part fertility series together by talking about how to take amazing care of yourself in the third trimester as well as post-partum. This will ensure that you have a smooth transition into motherhood with things like less stress, better milk supply, faster hormonal balance, and positive moods.
Who doesn’t want that?
The third trimester is a lot of fun because you get to watch your belly grow to its fullest. It’s also the home stretch for nutrition. You should already be eating healthy by now but certain nutrients deserve to be highlighted.
Your baby continues to grow quickly during this time. The organs reach their maturation, your baby can grasp and detect light, and has fully developed bones (although still pliable) by weeks 36 to 38.
While the bones finish their development, they will continue to leach calcium like crazy from your body: about 250 milligrams of calcium are deposited in your baby’s hardening skeleton each day. We know that doesn’t sound like much, but we never want YOUR reserves to become depleted, so focus on consuming plenty of calcium-rich foods like leafy greens, sesame seeds, sea vegetables, sardines, salmon, figs, and almonds.
Keep in mind that what you do now at the 36-38 week mark is going to set the stage for the next three months of your life (as well as your family’s life). You need to keep your nutrition strong so that you have the wherewithal to breast feed and take care of your new born (especially on a lot less sleep than you may be used to).
To create this ammunition for lasting energy for breastfeeding and new motherhood, you need a lot of protein in addition to calcium.
Protein is a building block. It is an essential nutrient every mom needs in her reserve of materials for baby to take from and we recommend 75g of high quality protein from pasture-raised animals/day.
We are literally made of protein from our bones to our muscles, arteries and veins, skin, hair, and fingernails. Our heart, brain, liver, kidneys, and lungs are built of tissue made of proteins. This magic number of 75g/day will help to regulate the delicate chemical changes that constantly take place within your body during the third trimester.
Your developing fetus needs protein to build all of the cells of its body, including its adorable face, bright eyes, and soft baby skin.
The maternal diet supplies all of the protein a baby needs, so if a pregnant woman is deficient, her baby can suffer. Because the baby grows more rapidly during the second and third trimesters, protein levels during the latter half of the pregnancy are more important than earlier in fetal development.
If you are concerned at the price or availability of high quality, organic animal products, look into US Wellness Meats. They are very affordable and top quality and ship nationwide – if you have the space, buying in bulk from them will save you both the time of shopping and a lot of expense.
I sometimes here from my clients that they would eat more meat but that they just don’t like cooking it, or that they have the time/energy to cook at all. If you are like those clients, check into a nationwide healthy food delivery service like Pete’s Paleo.
The next three key nutrients to focus on are fat, vitamin C, and omega 3s.
Healthy Fats: Do not shy away from avocados, coconut oil, duck fat, grass fed butter, or organic, raw nuts and seeds
High Vitamin C: Adrenal function is crucial especially if you have been tired or run down before, during, or after pregnancy. This will give you adrenal glands some ammunition to make cortisol from so that you can produce more energy during the day.
Omega-3s: Keep up on your fish oil and wild, cold water, fatty fish and you will kill two birds with one stone (protein and omega-3s)
Cleansing the Breast Milk
If you didn’t already start taking a good greens complex in the first trimester, start now and make sure the one you choose has chlorella in it because chlorella acts as a wonderful filter to cleanse breast milk (this will severely cut down on colic potential and boost baby’s nutrient density).
Developing a healthy sleep routine before baby comes is a fantastic thing to do. Go to bed at the same time, create a nighttime ritual that winds you down whether that be stretching, breathing, baths, reading something uplifting, praying or meditating.
Sleep is crucial and when baby comes, you’ll have to have the skill to go from active to resting quite often and in a short amount of time so that you can sleep when the time allows.
Lavender oil, hypoallergenic eye masks (improve melatonin function and train body to go from active to relaxation faster without as much transition time because you will be getting up more frequently) and having a healthy snack before bed with protein and fat will all calm you down and help the improve sleep quality even if you are forced to become low on quantity.
Prepping for Post-Partum in the Third Tri
A basic part of surviving is eating. So let’s start there. Usually the last thing you or your partner want to do immediately after bringing your beautiful baby home is cook and prepare 3 meals a day plus snacks.
Ask for food assistance by way of meal trains and don’t be proud about it because your friends and family love you. They want to contribute in a way that makes your life easier and it’s your responsibility to tell them how they can do that. It takes a village to raise a child.
Here are our favorite meal train websites:
Willow talks about the use of homeopathy for your symptoms in the third tri and post-partum.
Apparently the most common complaints are hemorrhoids, constipation, bleeding, and mastitis. Head over to Willow’s site, balancingyourhealth.com to learn more about natural remedies for those.
Consume Your Placenta
Yes, you read that right.
This is one of the healthiest things you can do to feel amazing in post-partum. It’s kind of like consuming your own bio-identical hormone match so it makes the dramatic hormone drop from birth so much less intimating and you are so much more likely to avoid exhaustion, stress, and total depletion. We don’t want you crying in post-partum. We want you in a magic bubble of happiness over the new life that has just joined your family.
This can be a highly civilized thing to do and you can take it either in tincture or capsule form.
Check out this recent testimonial below:
“I had it done for my 4th [birth]. Best thing ever. Great milk supply. Less stress. More energy. Best thing I have done to aid in post birth recovery. Look into it especially if you suffer from post natal depression.” — Claire
This is a practice that is as old as the 1500’s. It has been continued to be used due to an abundance of great properties believed to make a huge difference to a new mother’s mental health, recovery and well being.
The placenta is extremely rich in nutrients (especially iron) that will greatly assist the mother to recover from childbirth, including slowing and stopping hemorrhaging and helping with milk supply.
You have to do what feels right for you. Our job is to share our experience and help guide you to find out what that is.
Wishing you the healthiest pregnancy, delivery and post-partum period!
Our new book “How to Conceive Naturally and Have a Healthy Pregnancy After 30” is available now!