Moms, the third trimester seems like the longest for many of you. The truth is that in terms of length, it is often the shortest. However, trying to navigate when you feel that you are bigger than the Great White Whales in the ocean can be challenging. You probably feel like every move is frowned upon by doctors, loved ones, or your own body. Here are a few tips for things that may help and myths that will not.
While it seems like everyone is always telling you what not to do, we should start with the don’ts. I want to begin with these because the thing you often remember most is the last thing you read. If we end with the dos, the things that are beneficial will be freshest in your mind. We have all experienced pregnancy brain in the third trimester, so let’s do the best we can to minimize its effects.
Sleeping on your back
While it will not kill you to sleep on your back, when you are carrying an extra person (or two or three), sleeping on your back will be the least comfortable. It can make it harder to breathe and decrease circulation. Swelling and fatigue are often already a challenge, so you do not want to exacerbate that by sleeping on your back.
Taking Medicines That You Are Not Cleared For
When you are pregnant, even over-the-counter drugs can be hazardous to your baby’s health. You might think that the cold medicine is safe, but it is not. If you feel allergies, a cold, or headaches are plaguing the last few months of your pregnancy, you should consult with your doctor. Truthfully, this is good advice throughout your pregnancy, but in the third trimester, some medications might mask or trigger premature labor.
Activities you may have enjoyed before pregnancy can pose fall risks for you in late pregnancy, especially. While skating, climbing, and dancing are fantastic activities, they can pose a risk for you as well. Though you may enjoy these activities, you do not want to put yourself at risk for harming yourself or your baby. Falling can trigger premature labor, which can prove fatal for an underdeveloped baby.
Recreational Drugs—Even Legal Ones
It is well-known that smoking while pregnant can cause low-birthweights and premature labor, but some people believe that a small glass of wine will not harm the fetus. While that could be true, there are simply no tests that prove this to be true. No amount of alcohol has been deemed to be healthy for a baby. If you have had a rough day, try to score a massage from your partner or relax with a good book or movie. You can return to alcohol once in a while after the baby is born. If you are breast-feeding, follow protocols for eliminating contaminated breastmilk from your supply.
Eating for Twelve
Yes, you are eating for two or more right now, but that does not mean that you need to overindulge either. You only need about an extra three hundred calories per day to maintain a healthy pregnancy. This may increase slightly if you are carrying multiples, but never more than four or five hundred extra per day. Sure, you can indulge in ice cream, cake, or chips now and then, but this should be a treat, just as when you are not pregnant. There is no reason to go from a thirteen hundred calorie diet to a twenty-five hundred calorie plan.
Foods that put your body at risk for increased mercury, salmonella, listeria, and toxoplasmosis should be avoided. You can still enjoy many of your favorite foods, but you will need to skip the unpasteurized milk, cheeses, and undercooked meats. You can tolerate medium or medium-well steaks for a few months.
Visiting the Sauna or Taking Hot Baths
If you want to relax in the tub, be sure that the water is not steamy. We enjoy hot baths once in a while, but the heat can be discomforting for the baby and raise the mother’s temperature too much. If you want to relax in a cool pool, this can also help your stress levels. Floating can help your joints relax a bit.
Taking on Extra Stress
Anything that increases your stress should be avoided if possible. Of course, you cannot help it if you experience life changes, but you should not let things stress you unnecessarily. This advice is good for the duration of your pregnancy.
While it may feel like we just sucked the fun out of everything, you can enjoy some things during your last trimester. Your baby will be arriving soon, and you deserve to enjoy the wait. You should also take good care of yourself during this time.
Eat a Balanced Diet
A balanced diet does not have to be boring. You should eat foods rich in vitamins and nutrients will help your body to prepare for labor and childbirth. A balanced diet can also help you to feel more energetic and well-rested.
While some exercises can be dangerous, walking, yoga, and other activities can certainly be safe for expectant mothers. If you were not active before your pregnancy began, you will want to discuss any exercise regimen with your doctor, but for those moms who were already active, continuing to exercise is best for your body. Well stretched muscles and healthy bodies have the fewest pregnancy complications. You should make sure that you are ready for one of the most challenging things your body will ever experience.
Take Parenting or Childbirth Classes
Even if this is your second, third, or fourth baby, you can still benefit from childbirth and parenting classes. As hospital policies change, you will need to update yourself with the allowed and preferred things. These classes can help you develop a birth plan and refresh you on infant care and first aid. If this is your first baby, you can learn some relaxation techniques, and your partner can help you most comfortably labor. You can also learn pain management options and the side effects on your baby. There are many natural techniques that may help, even if you choose to use medications to manage pain during the most active parts of labor.
Finish the Nursery
Planning and creating your baby’s room has to be the best part of pregnancy up ‘til now. You have dreamed of your baby boy or girl and what they will enjoy about this room. Put the finishing touches on the nursery and get ready for your little bundle of joy to make his or her grand entrance.
Sleeping may be challenging with your extra weight and size, but you can spend time resting and relaxing. Remind your partner that it’s hard work to grow extra limbs, brains, and hearts. You should enjoy binge-watching once in a while during the last few months of pregnancy. You want to maintain an active lifestyle, but your days of vegging out will be limited once your baby arrives.
While you do not want to spend the day at the spa or in a sauna, lotions, foot rubs, and floats in the pool can help your joints and muscles feel better. Take some time to take care of your skin and muscles.
Prepare for Your Hospital Stay
Pack your bag, plan for childcare for older children, and pet sitting for animals during the last trimester. You will feel much more relaxed, knowing that you have a plan. This way, if something changes with your plan, you may also have time to adapt it as well. Be sure to plan for emergencies or 2 am hospital trips.
Enjoy your body
Some resources will advise that you avoid sex during the third trimester, but there is no scientific evidence to back this up. You should enjoy the last few moments of intimacy you may have for a while. The first six weeks or more after delivery are often recommended as pelvic rest. You will need to be very careful and leave the acrobatics for a kid-free weekend. You can enjoy sex, and adapting your position to maximize safety can increase your pleasure as well.
Prepare for labor, delivery, and childbirth during your last trimester, but do not let it stress you out. Be sure that you talk to your doctor before making diet, exercise, or medication changes. You can make this time one of the best in your pregnancy, but you must be careful not to put yourself at added risk.