The third trimester of pregnancy is the home stretch; you are nearly done, which could be good or bad depending on how much you are enjoying your pregnancy thus far. Although, one very obvious fact remains, this trimester, you will feel the pregnancy unlike trimesters before. The weight of the baby, the growth of your belly (and body), joints, aches, pains, stretching sensations, pressure, stronger kicks and stretches on the part of the baby and the numbers rushing upwards on the scale all make this trimester physically demanding. There is also an emotional element too. Your baby has a good chance of survival now even if it comes early so the approaching labour day is very much on your mind, as well as thinking beyond to how life with a new baby will be. Plus, you are probably trying to prepare, gather all you need or want to purchase for the baby and become as educated as possible on labour, recovery and newbornhood.
I love the third trimester, the second too (the first not so much, but spending 6 weeks in bed or beside a toilet really isn’t any fun). Yet as I approach my 37 week, I am definitely feeling ready to have a baby. Physically, pregnancy is much more demanding on my body right now and I am super excited to hold the little new one. I still love being pregnant so I am trying to savour these last few weeks.
Experience has taught me that there are a few things worth doing in the third trimester to make transitioning to newborn parenthood more enjoyable.
- Prepare for labour. Whether this is you first, second or fifth, it still helps to be educated on what you can expect during labour from a reliable and positive source. Every labour can be different and with it’s own unique set of challenges. So knowing what to expect as much as possible will help you.
- Even though you are larger than ever before, you can still exercise! Labour is a marathon, not a sprint so make sure you keep up with modified physical activity. Modified, as in workouts that are low impact: walking, swimming, yoga, nothing new or overly challenging. You don’t want to hurt yourself, just maintain a steady rate of activity. You will probably need to cut back from what you did in your second trimester. That’s perfectly alright. Your body is under way more stress now and you don’t want to tax yourself.
- Rest. Fatique often hits again in the third trimester. I find the best way to combat it, besides a cup of coffee, is to do some form of exercise since I am already a mama of 3 and don’t necessarily have time for a nap. I also go to bed very early. So make sure that you adjust your routine and schedule to give your body the rest it needs.
- Continue to eat healthy. It’s easy to pack on the pounds like your baby is doing in the third trimester but try to pack in as many fruits and vegetables instead of sweet treats that you might crave. Indulging in a craving now and then is great but just be cautious because you do need to push that baby out eventually. And all the important developmental milestones of the earlier trimesters are still continuing to improve, such as brain development, in your baby so you want to give your baby the healthiest start possible.
- Read, talk to people, educate yourself on what to expect from a newborn baby and also what to expect of your body post partum. Everyone is different and every experience is different too but it helps to know that your baby will require round the clock care, feeding, changing, cuddling etc. And that your body will not be anything like you remember it. Recovery from birth, I find, is one of the more difficult parts of the whole experience. It can take weeks to get back on your feet, sometimes literally, and if you are breastfeeding, your boobs are not your own anymore. Which brings me to my next point:
- Breastfeeding is best but… do what is right for you and your family. It’s not easy. Talk to a lactation consultant prior to birth so that you can receive a sound education on breastfeeding. Very rarely does it just come naturally. Often the newborn knows how to breastfeed better than mom. Trust your baby’s cues and don’t be surprised if your are in extreme pain (yes latch is everything but sensitive skin does need to toughen up and a small baby will have a small mouth, which makes taking in enough of the breast very challenging), or engorged. Keep with it. It does get better. It might take up to a couple months (did for me on my second attempt). But it is truly the most rewarding way to nourish your baby and worth all the effort!
- Baby gear! There is so much out there. You could get overwhelmed. Keep it simple and then purchase or borrow what you need as you go along. Really, all you need at the beginning are the basics anyway. A place for the baby to safely sleep, baby clothing, diapers and wipes, a car seat and perhaps a swing or infant seat (or a sling, carrier, wrap etc.) somewhere to place baby during the day when you want to get a few things accomplished. (Baby Wearing Caution: Make sure you recieve the proper instructions on how to safely position newborn babies in a carrier. If not done properly, your baby can be harmed)
Lastly, remember to treasure these last 3 months of pregnancy because they will go by fast and before long it will just be a memory. Enjoy the feeling of your active youngster moving around inside your tummy, and maybe you’ll even be able to physically see the movement on your tummy. It’s an exciting trimester to say the least!