Diet During Third Trimester

Diet During Third Trimester
You are in the final stage of your gestation period from week 28 to week 40. In the third trimester of pregnancy, your baby continues to grow and gains weight. So, get the right nutrition in third trimester for sufficient energy to get through the days and support your big baby bump. Continue your healthy eating habits and try to relax as much as possible and make the right food choices for a healthy baby. Here is a simple guide to help you understand what constitutes an Indian diet during third trimester of pregnancy.

Diet in Third Trimester of Pregnancy

Continue to intake iron-rich food in your third trimester of pregnancy as you did in your first and second trimesters. This is because iron prevents anaemia and lowers the risk of premature labour. Also, ensure to eat the five essential food groups to get the required amount of protein, minerals, fats, carbohydrates and vitamins. The five food groups are:
  • Grains
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Dairy
  • Protein
Let us learn more about the foods you can eat during the third trimester.

Whole grains

Whole grains are rich in carbohydrates that are essential sources of energy for human bodies. Eat whole-grain products to get fibre, iron, proteins, minerals and B vitamins. Eat whole grains to ease constipation and avert the risk of haemorrhoids. Include whole grain/ multigrain foods, such as:
  • Wheat
  • Brown rice
  • Barley
  • Millets
  • Wheat rava
  • Daliya
  • Oats


Vegetables are an excellent way of getting vitamins, minerals, and fibre. Include dark leafy vegetables in your nutrition in third trimester for iron, fibre, vitamins A, B, C, E, K, beta carotene, potassium and other minerals. Nutrients from vegetables may also prevent anaemia, gestational diabetes, high/low blood pressure and excess weight gain. The National Health Service, UK, recommends eating a minimum of 5 portions of vegetables every day. Ensure each serving is of 80g of fresh/ frozen/ canned vegetables. You can include the following vegetables in your Indian diet during third trimester of pregnancy:
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes
  • Bell peppers
  • Broccoli/ Cauliflower
  • Beetroot
  • Carrot
  • Sweet potatoes


Eat more fruits to get Vitamins C, B, E, K and folate and minerals, such as copper and potassium. Vitamin C is essential for placenta functioning, absorbing iron and maintaining the immune system. You can eat these fruits as a part of your diet in third trimester:
  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Bananas
  • Strawberries
  • Watermelon
  • Guavas
  • Pomegranates
  • Pears
  • Apricots

Dairy products

The FSSAI recommends a daily requirement of 1,200mg/day of calcium intake for pregnant and lactating women. You need to consume more dairy products at this stage of pregnancy for your baby’s stronger bones and teeth. Dairy products are rich in high-quality proteins (casein and whey) along with B vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc. Consume these dairy products, such as:
  • Milk
  • Curd
  • Cheese
  • Paneer
  • Calcium-fortified soymilk
Curd has probiotic bacteria that provide protein and calcium and aid in your digestion. So, make sure to consume the daily requirement of dairy products for stronger bones. Also, make sure that you are getting enough of vitamin D from direct sunlight. Vitamin D helps our bodies absorb calcium and result in stronger bones. 


Add legumes, such as pulses, lentils, seeds, beans and peas to your nutrition in third trimester for the daily requirement of folate. According to FSSAI, Indian pregnant women need 500µg/day. So, legumes for iron, folate, protein, fibre, calcium, magnesium, potassium and other vital nutrients. In each meal include at least 80g of:
  • Pulses
  • Beans
  • Kidney beans
  • Soybeans
  • Dried beans
  • Peas
  • Chickpeas
  • Peanuts

Nuts and seeds

As a part of your Indian diet during third trimester of pregnancy, eat a handful of nuts and seeds a day gives you enough calories essential for your baby’s growth. Get proteins, omega-3 fatty acids and thiamine by munching of dry fruits, such as almonds, walnuts and other dry fruits and nuts. Seeds and nuts provide sufficient amounts of thiamine, essential omega-3 fatty acids, and proteins. Eat sunflower seeds and dry fruits such as hazelnuts, almonds, and walnuts added to your breakfast cereals and cereal bars. Add these nuts and seeds to your diet in third trimester:
  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Pistachios
  • Walnuts
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Dates
  • Figs
  • Prunes

Protein-rich foods

Protein helps build cells and tissues and practically makes every part in the body, such as skin, hair, eyes, bones, muscles, nails and the rest of the body. Get enough protein to build, maintain and repair your body cells and tissues and support your baby’s growth. Incorporate these protein-rich foods to your pregnancy diet:
  • Pulses
  • Dairy products
  • Nuts
  • Beans
  • Legumes
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Lean meat

Foods to Avoid During Third Trimester of Pregnancy

As in the first two trimesters, exclude the following list of foods from your diet in third trimester of pregnancy.

Foods with high mercury levels:

Do not eat food high in mercury because it is a toxic element. Mercury in food can impair your immune system, brain development, nervous system and affect normal function of kidney and lungs. Mercury may also harm your hearing and vision abilities. Avoid seafood such as:
  • Shark
  • Swordfish
  • Mackerel

Organ meat:

Even though vitamin A is excellent for the immune system, healthy skin and good vision, animal-based sources may be harmful. Therefore, avoid eating organ meat, such as:
  • Liver
  • Kidney
  • Heart
  • Brain
  • Sweetbreads
  • Tripe

Unwashed and undercooked food:

Do not eat unwashed, unpeeled and undercooked food as there is a risk of bacterial contamination. Always remember to cook your food thoroughly before eating.

Unpasteurized cheese and milk:

You need to exclude unpasteurized milk, juice and soft mould-ripened cheese to lessen the risk of infection. Unpasteurized products may harm you and your unborn.

Smoking and drinking:

Stop smoking and drinking during pregnancy. It may increase the risk of miscarriages, stillbirths, underweight babies, birth defects, premature birth and affect normal brain development in your unborns.

Processed or junk food:

Resist your cravings for processed food and eat nutritious food. Junk food though tastes good, is full of empty calories, unhealthy fats and sugar that lead to excess weight gain, gestational diabetes and birthing difficulties.

Raw sprouts:

As per the FDA, avoid eating raw sprouts in your pregnancy because there is an increased risk of food contamination with Salmonella bacteria. You can cook and eat the sprouts though.


The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) suggests pregnant women limit caffeine intake to less than 200mg per day. As caffeine is absorbed and passed into the placenta, the chances of inhibiting foetal growth are high. So, avoid too much coffee/caffeine. You are at the last stage of your pregnancy, do not give in to the temptations and eat healthy food to enjoy the sweetness of your labour.