Your developing baby’s physical and sensory development
As your developing baby grows bigger and develops his sense of smell, how should you change your diet in this last trimester to help support both of your needs?
Things are happening rapidly as you enter your third trimester of pregnancy. Your unborn child can smell a lot more scents and his growing size will lead you to gain more weight. Nourish yourself and these big changes in your developing baby by maintaining a well-balanced diet that includes more protein and DHA sources in your meal plan.
Your developing baby is reacting to smells outside of the womb
It’s hard to keep up with so many developments taking place in weeks 27 to 30 of your pregnancy.
By month seven, your developing baby’s olfactory neurons, the nerve cells that relate to smell, are already developed. Now, he can also detect odors. During this trimester, your developing baby will even react to strong smells by grimacing or moving his head. This acute sense of smell means that he’ll be able to recognize and be comforted by his mom’s familiar smell in his strange new world.
Planning meals for mother and her developing baby
Along with sensory development, your developing baby is also growing in physical size. He would have more than tripled in size in these last few months and now weighs up to five pounds (2.2 kilograms) and measures 12 to 18 inches (30 to 45 centimeters) in length.
Your developing baby is also beginning to put on baby fat, which will probably add to the cute factor when you finally see him! His body is being coated with a waxy substance called vernix caseosa, which protects his skin. He is also building a layer of fat designed to help him maintain his body temperature after delivery1. These fat layers will also be used to store energy.
All this growth adds to your weight and you may gain between 10 to 18 pounds (4.5 to 8 kilograms) this trimester. This translates to roughly one pound (0.45 kilograms) each week.
Your developing baby’s increasing size may be starting to make it uncomfortable for you to stick to your routine of eating three regular meals daily, so opt for five or six light meals or snacks throughout the day2.
Check your dietary plan and include important nutrients such as calcium and protein, which can be found in lean meat, soybeans, legumes like peas and beans, fish and broccoli.3
Did you know?
Your developing baby's hearing is fully developed by month seven. His other senses are very developed too now, and he will respond to sounds, changes in light and pain.4
Part of your developing baby’s growth in physique is the increasing size of his head, which is in line with the developments that are happening inside of it. Your developing baby’s gestation, in weeks 27 to 30 of your pregnancy, is a particularly busy time for his brain development. Take DHA, an omega-3 fat that supports his rapid brain development. Eating walnuts or adding ground flaxseeds to yoghurt is an easy way to enrich your diet with DHA.
Did you know that in this third trimester, your developing baby’s brain waves show rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which means he may be dreaming5?
You may even be doing your own daydreaming about your developing baby’s personality based on his behavior in your womb, for instance, is he super active or mostly calm?
While you’re dreaming of what your developing baby would look like or what his personality might be in the future, your body is working on its own to pass the antibodies in your blood to your developing baby. Find out how your developing baby benefits from your antibodies in pregnancy stages: month 8
Your developing baby can’t wait to see you too! You’ve been feeling his developing baby kicks since last month, which may be his way of making his presence felt. Read more about pregnancy stages: month 6
to revisit those moments in development and see how much your developing baby has progressed.
Good nutrition through the previous months of your pregnancy has certainly helped you and your developing baby’s progress, although you may find it more difficult to have full meals in this last trimester due to his current size.
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2March of Dimes. Heartburn and indigestion. Downloaded from http://www.marchofdimes.org/pregnancy/heartburn-and-indigestion.aspx. Accessed on Octorber 2015.
3Food Standards Agency UK. Eating while pregnant. Downloaded from http://www.food.gov.uk/sites/default/files/multimedia/pdfs/publication/e.... Accessed on October 2015.