These days, when I sit down to a meal, it doesn’t matter how hungry I am. No, the deciding factor in how much I eat is how much my baby will allow me to eat, what with it being so big and pushing up on my stomach, making it practically the size of a walnut. No, I have no idea if that’s scientifically accurate; it just feels that way sometimes.
Ah, the joys of the third trimester!
At this point in time — just shy of 33 weeks — my baby weighs an average of 4 lbs. and is 16″ or 17″ long. In other words, only slightly smaller than a newborn. And definitely nearly as long as one. So when the baby kicks and stretches…well, there’s not much room in there and it’s getting less everyday.
What does this mean for eating?
There are no more big meals in my house. Where, a couple months ago, I could sit down and eat a huge plateful of food — enough that my husband was, at times, shoveling some of his onto my plate! — I cannot anymore. I eat what I can and say I’m full…at least “for now.” My husband glances at my plate and says, “There is no way you have eaten enough! You need to finish that!” But I can’t.
Here are some tips for eating in the third trimester:
1) Eat small meals — Okay, maybe this is obvious. But if you’re like me, you forget. You get busy with kids and chores and activities and forget to stop and eat something except at normal meal times. But seriously, eat when you feel hungry and aim to have something every 2 – 3 hours throughout the day. (Now I need to take my own advice….)
2) Make it count — Don’t grab something easy, quick, and…junky. (I say while “tasting” my most recent concoction, hazelnut fudge!) Pack nuts, dried fruit, cheese, etc. Celery and almond butter is one of my favorite snacks. Quesadillas with fresh salsa is another. Any sort of leftovers you have around, salads, soups, fruit, etc. are good to eat too. Don’t pick ‘snack food’ too much; think true mini-meals.
3) Don’t push it — If you’re full, you’re full. Don’t make yourself eat more. I have definitely felt sick from trying to eat more than I felt I could at once. Your stomach is simply smaller right now and baby’s pushing on your intestines, so things just don’t work how they used to. It may be more difficult at times to eat because of the way the baby’s positioned. There are days I can basically feel the food slowly gurgling down…and I don’t really want to eat at all. So I go very slow….
4) Remember good days and bad days — It does depend on the baby’s position. If baby’s busy jumping on your bladder (especially once baby drops late in pregnancy), eating will be a bit easier. If baby’s stuck in your ribs, eating will be harder. It can change day to day. My baby shifted one night recently from a semi-transverse (kind of diagonal, actually) to head down and eating became easier at that point because I didn’t have a butt shoved right at my stomach!
5) This, too, shall pass — Soon enough you’ll have your baby and then you’ll be able to eat again. Boy, is that a shock! But really, by the time you are so full of baby that you can hardly eat, move, breathe, and not pee your pants anymore, you only have a few weeks left anyway. And once you see your baby’s face none of this will even matter.
How do you manage to eat during the third trimester?
Top image by 05com